Christian Living

Forgiveness: Searching for Freedom on the Other End of Hurt

Rumination. This is a fancy word for talking and overthinking about the past, or as some would like to think and stress, living in the past. It’s a point of contention between loved ones who argue through hurts, trials, illness, and breakdowns. It’s also a beastly grip that takes place on those struggling through major or chronic depression and can’t help but energize their focus away from their pain.

We ruminate on past hurts and try to excuse our current situation because the past is still dragging us down and unacknowledged. We ruminate on feelings because they bring a sense of ownership despite others chiding us for them. We stew in negative thoughts, rehearse what should have been said, and throw wishes at stars over the deep holes of lost moments to time.

But sometimes, in a moment of living in the present, we ruminate on the little darts of hurt thrown at our wounded depressed souls because our closest companions seek to beat us down in our worst soul-wrenching moments.

When will we be through with thoughts chasing us down to keep us tied to abasement? Can we move on from hurt and wade through the fact that self-questioning will knock on our door once again? How do we drill into our loved ones that hurt is hurt, our feelings are real, depression isn’t the time to dismiss our need for validation, and sometimes we need someone to walk through the fire with us?

And then if we arrive on the other end by our own two feet, how do we look forward without bitterness and doubt?

There is a beautiful yet challenging command that the Lord calls us to: forgiveness.

We live under the love of Christ’s forgiveness, and as Christians, the provision that we forgive those who offend and trespass against us. Apathetic forgiveness is easy. Seeing the offender or being involved in a negative or recurring memory draws out the objection and condemnation.

However, the command is to forgive and not to forget because forgetting is next to impossible, most of the time. Forgetting is difficult because it suggests future expectations based on history. This is when grace becomes married with discernment. We also need to remember that we are trespassers, too.

Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18-19

Mercy… We are undeserving, but that’s not the mindset we should have when we face our troubles. Our offenders are forgiven, not their offenses. The Lord is just in his mercy. He draws us near and reconciles us to himself. This is where we want to rest in all seasons of life. It is definitely a place to land when withdrawing from a deep season of dark despair.

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. Matthew 5:7

 

There’s freedom in forgiveness, and sometimes that freedom is found in time. But never-the-less, we are called to something greater than the world and greater than our mournful trials.

I once asked a former pastor if I struggled with such depressive episodes as a punishment of sorts. I thought maybe they plagued me because, despite any repentance or confession of any sin or troubled heart, I couldn’t forgive myself at times, hence despondency followed me. He reminded me that if we are in Christ, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). It took years, many prayers, and many self-defeats to move beyond this thought. Time brought this healing. Time can bring forgiveness. We can all be restored to our Creator.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

1 thought on “Forgiveness: Searching for Freedom on the Other End of Hurt

  1. Thank you for being vulnerable and for sharing from your heart.
    Liked “Our offenders are forgiven, not their offenses.”

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