She hurt me.
The thing is, I hadn’t thought about that hurt in forever.
I was young when it took place. She was young.
There’s lots of grace for what we do when our brains are still developing, right?
When she stood in front of me in person, however; the feelings came rushing back.
You hurt me.
I prayed that she didn’t know how I felt, because I wasn’t sure how I felt. The old emotion creeping back in surprised me.
You are not welcome in my heart.
I whispered that — not to her — but to the feelings that slipped in.
I know what unforgiveness can do. It wants nothing more than to keep us mired in the past. It wants us to react, to wear a chip on our shoulder, to walk around wounded. It keeps us from discovering who we are separate from the hurt of our past, or a person.
Years ago I promised myself that my children would grow up with a mama that laughs, that isn’t bound by old hurts, that they’d know that she loved Jesus and see Him in her.
I had dealt with hurt far greater and God healed me.
This is not who I am. This is not the path God has carved out for me.
Yet the feelings were real. I wasn’t just remembering the hurt, but there were new feelings: anger. I was angry as a mom. Angry as a grandma. Angry that mean girls exist and they leave a pretty significant mark.
The inner dialogue between me and the Holy Spirit was strong.
Suz, you were a girl. She was a girl.
But Lord, if I open my heart to her, she might hurt me again.
You are stronger than that.
Do you know what she did? Do you remember?
This all took place in a matter of seconds, but finally the truth settled.
She couldn’t hurt me again because we weren’t children anymore, but I could absolutely hurt her.
She stood in front of me, vulnerable. I wasn’t certain how life had treated her in the years that passed, but I had heard enough to know that she had went through some tough stuff.
How do we respond when God asks us to forgive?
Maybe someone hurt you a long time ago and you sense God asking you to take a turn toward forgiveness. He’s not asking you to be unwise, or open the door to abuse. He’s simply showing you a wounded place, and asking you to respond.
You don’t have to forgive if you don’t want to. Forgiving isn’t something that anyone can make us do. We can close that door. We can shut down the conversation. We can make them pay, or at least try to make them understand why they should pay.
We can hold that resentment close until the day we do.
But we can’t forget this, sweet friends. .
Unresolved unforgiveness stands in the way of our freedom.
Sometimes God leads us to those old feelings because He has that person on His heart, but He’s just as aware of the power of forgiveness in your life.
You matter, too.
He wants you to surrender them to Him. He wants to touch those old hurts. He’s reminding us of who we are.
We are women who laugh, who aren’t bound by old hurts, and who loves Jesus and are loved back incredibly.
Did the Holy Spirit just show you that wound? Is He asking you to surrender it today?
Let me pray with you as you do that.
Father, thank you for her listening heart. Thank you that You don’t want old wounds to take root, or splash out on those who she loves today. We hold up those old wounds. We don’t know exactly what that looks like, or what you desire to do, but we surrender to the process. Thank You for incredible mercy and healing power. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you struggle to forgive, I want to walk with you through that process. I’ve been there.
I’ve discovered that forgiving isn’t something we have to do or need to do, but that we get to do. That changed everything for me.
We aren’t alone as we heal. We aren’t alone as we discover who we were intended to be, separate from the past or the actions or words of another person.
I hope you’ll check out this resource, The Unburdened Heart: Finding the Freedom of Forgiveness. In it, we’ll walk together to find the healing you’ve longed to find in that part of your heart. ~ Suzie
I have one sister, I have forgiven, but she still wishes to hold a grudge. It is hard on our Mom and other family members. We can’t be together because she refuses to forgive. For years I’ve heard, we can’t invite you because Grace is coming, or you two don’t get along so it’s hard to invite you. I have tried to make it clear it’s her choice to show up, and that I will come , for I hold no grudge. I’m tired of it all, and before my father died this last November, he told me tried speaking to her to no avail. I told him it was okay, she was an adult it was her choice to continue to live in hate, but I was not. I told him I released it and was going on live. Grace knows this, and I pray every day, that God reaches through to her, for she lives an unhappy life. The rest of us all ignore her as much as we can but now she lashes out at the rest of my sisters. As they are Christians, they tell her they don’t tolerate it, but she continues to wedge discontent in everyone. I went to a counselor, who simple said stop playing the game with her and walk away. That is what I’ve done, but I can’t visit our Mom, before calling to make sure the path is clear. So in a since we are all playing Graces game. Any suggestions?
We had a similar situation in our family. 3 sisters, one didn’t speak to another for over 2 years. Family functions were tense and awkward. What we decided to do as a family was the old Al-Anon idea of “fake it ’till you make it.” At family functions, every other family member went about our business as though nothing was wrong. We spoke to each other, laughed, came together, and most importantly, included the sister who was acting out. An example is: I would purposely speak to one sister, when I knew the other one was near enough to hear, and send a question her way. “Really, you found a Chanel suit at a thrift shop? And then to the other sister – Did you hear that? Can you believe it?”
We didn’t ignore what was going on. We talked about it, but not at family get together’s. Those were the times we took our sister’s power of creating chaos away – by showing her it wasn’t working. Misbehaving as an adult is often about wanting control, or power. Take that away, and it becomes hard for the person to justify the behavior. No result usually means less effort will be put in.
I know your situation is personal, and unique to your family, and if none of this advice seems like it will work for you, then at least please know you are in my prayers as someone who’s been there.
Good word today, Suzie. Thank you!
Suzie, Your book changed my heart, my soul, and how I think about things. It changed my life for the better. Not that I don’t struggle but you showed me I don’t have to be subdued by it. You and your words blessed me! Thank you.
I’ve discovered some of those old hurts just pop up as you described–out of no where! And mostly they are little, insignificant things that don’t matter in my life now at all! However, unforgiveness does matter and both God and Satan seek to take advantage of that unforgiveness either to bring further healing or further bondage in our lives. Good word today–thanks!
Forgiveness is power. Power to let go, power to heal, power to move forward. Forgiving my rapists, one of whom was the father of the child I conceived that fateful day (I was 16), was one of the most powerful choices I have ever made. These three men never faced charges for what they did to me, because I was blamed. They will never answer before man for what they did, but they will answer before God…the father of my child has already answered before God. Forgiveness didn’t come right away, it took time. I struggled.for many years with anger over what had happened. Trust became difficult. I expected to be hurt because that was what men in my life did. I lost my sense of value and worth as a woman. I knew God, knew He loved me, cherished me…but didn’t feel I deserved it…I was broken and who loves someone broken?
I don’t remember the exact date I chose to forgive, but the freedom I gained I will never forget. A weight lifted off me….a weight that had so heavily weighed me down for so long…gone forever. It is the memory of that weight I carried that prompts me to continually choose forgiveness when someone has hurt me. Are there times I still struggle with it? Sure. I can honestly say I am working through something right now…a severe breach of trust and it hurts so bad. And when it also involves someone you love being hurt, well it makes it even more difficult. But God…
How much has He forgiven me for the things I have done? Oh how humbling that question can be. He forgives…as far as the East is from the West , so far has He has removed our transgressions from us Psalm 103:12. Who am I, to not offer the same for those who have hurt me? And oh the freedom forgiveness offers. For me, forgiveness gave me courage to make a phone call I never could have made
otherwise. That call was to my child’s paternal grandmother. We spoke for over an hour that day and the grace that surrounded that conversation was only something He could give. We ended that call with a prayer of thankfulness. It’s been over a year since that call and we are still trying to arrange a visit to meet in person. In God’s timing it will happen.
Thank you, Rebekah for this powerful account of what God can do when we are willing. Bless you. Wonderful that you were able to phone your child’s paternal grandmother.
Forgiveness.. This has been a so hard..The first is a friend years ago I found out after my divorce she stayed at my house with my then husband while I lay in the hospital fighting for my life..I asked her she and he denied it..then about 8 months ago she came back in town we are taking, about 12 years since I seen her..she asked me one day to forgive her. I said I already did..but she continued with I had sex with Steve 2 times..I knew of once..I haven’t been able to talk to her..bc she KNEW his abuse,his ugliness toward me..so it hurt more..in this case I wonder does one ask to be forgiven for their freedom..To have been quiet she could if saved me pain.. She could of asked God for forgiveness..I feel now she laid it on me..right or wrong..I don’t know..The worst..and really the hardest is the two who raped me 14 year old daughter.. I’m furious..We haven’t gone to court yet..We know the ones..there was a rape kit done at the hospital they are adults..and they HURT MY BABY IN THE WORST WAY..She wore a ring that promised to wait..I told her IS STILL A VERGIN..The day she called me..she was to stay the night at her Aunt’s.. But went with another aunt..(really no blood relation)..and it happened.. Someone told them I was on my way and the police…I was mad they ran..but it was for the best..I know I was dangerous..I’d spin and missing control..My heart is racing talking about it..I do talk to God about it…I’m sorry for the ones on here who have been raped abused..Its so many..the evil in this world is numerous.. I know God is BIGGER..HE IS THE GREAT ‘I AM’..IM trying to lay all this at the cross..but with court coming up..we have proof but they still say innocent..that is where I am..now to cool down…I LOVE ALL IF YOU ALL..GOD BLESS..HUGS!!
Marta, I am praying for you and for your daughter. God can and will heal this hurt if only you allow Him to. Many times we can be determined to lay our burdens at His feet, we can go to Him in prayer and do just that, but still pick it back up and take it with us. We surrender part of it, but not all of it. We can’t hold on to part of it and expect Him to fix all of it. Give your burden to Him and then ask Him what He has in return for you…claim the promises He has given…to never leave us or forsake us, that He can make beauty from our ashes, that He loves you, that He desires you to trust His perfect will even if it makes no sense in our natural sight. God bless you and your daughter. May He be your source of strength.
Timely, Suzie. Thank you for your words of hope avid your prayer!
Oops… hope AND your prayer. 🙂