If you’re trying to step out in faith and experience reconciliation with God (and His bride, the church), then get ready for Him to lift one heavy load from your shoulders. This is what I believe the Holy Spirit is asking you to do in this very moment.
You know who you are.
First, you must forgive the person in the church who caused you the pain. No matter how much they’ve hurt you (and even if you don’t want to forgive them), ask the Lord Jesus to help you to forgive them. Be honest with the Lord. Let Him know how hurt you’ve been (you’re not going to tell Him anything He doesn’t already know), and openly express what you’re feeling today. Your heart is important, beloved. Suppressing these hurt feelings only creates more hurt feelings. Because you are made in the image of God (designed with the need to express oneself), and have emotions (just as He does), you can no longer deny what your heart is desperate to express.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:14-18
To believe nothing is wrong is deception (in the form of denial) with a shiny red bow.
Confront it for what it is. If you’re angry, let God know you’re angry. If you’re hurt and sad, let Him know that, too. Walk in truth beloved, no matter how much it hurts. This is the day for you to get real with Jesus. Stop hiding. If you’re ready to fully forgive, then let it go. Forgive that person. Not because they deserve it (just as we don’t deserve it), but because He does and you’re ready to move on with your life.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Secondly, ask God to forgive you for your sin. If you are wondering how you have sinned since you were the victim, remember that we are never justified to hate someone. We don’t have special permission to hold prolonged anger, bitterness, or resentment towards others, even if we aren’t to blame.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:19
We are responsible for our actions, including how we respond to sin.
Many Christians fail to realize this, but it is very biblical for us to love our enemies. This is why Jesus says all the commandments are fulfilled in love.
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
Thirdly, after you have asked Jesus to help you forgive this person and to forgive you of your sin, then ask the Holy Spirit to fill in your heart with God’s love, peace, and healing to replace the anger, hatred, and resentment. Replace the hurt with good. Replace the lies with God’s truth. Ask the Lord to help you see this person the way He sees them. This will soften your heart and keep you from meditating on thoughts that produce division, pride, and death.
“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Allow me to comfort you with this truth: If the person truly knew what they were doing, they probably wouldn’t have done it.
Oftentimes, we hold people to unrealistically high-standards that they can never reach. May we emulate the attitude of Jesus when he declared, hanging on a cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
“And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.” Luke 23:24
Lastly, recommit yourself to God. Declare Jesus as your Lord and Savior and ask Him to help you live a life of truth and righteousness. Ask Him to help you. He will do it. Ask Him to strengthen you and guide you. He will do it. Ask Him to draw close to you. He will do it. As the perfect gentleman, Jesus appears in places where He is welcomed. But, He won’t refuse an invitation. If you’re asking Him to show up, He will.
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalms 34:8
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10
In closing, here’s a quick recap: Ask God to help you forgive the person who has hurt you. Forgive them. Ask God to forgive you of your sin. Then forgive yourself. Ask God to fill any void in your heart with His love and truth, filling any area where this person/situation once lived . Walk in that truth. Truth sets you free, so you will no longer be under that yolk of oppression. Then meditate on His word daily, beloved. He will be faithful.
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