“Unforgiveness is a strategic design, craftily implemented by your enemy to outwit you, to cripple your effectiveness in prayer and your power to stand against him victoriously.” p153 Fervent.
I spent a lot of years stuck in the pit of unforgiveness.
Unable or unwilling to forgive those who have hurt me, resentment became a close companion. It was easy to point my fingers and blame. It became second nature to say “I wouldn’t feel this way if you hadn’t done xyz…”
Hate and anger would fester. I quickly came to that place where I was bitter all the time and I was unable to see the good in any situation. Have you ever found yourself there? Bitter, angry and resentful and stuck in unforgiveness?
I remember one morning, sitting in front of the mirror to get ready for work, and I looked at myself and didn’t recognize who was staring back at me. I felt dark and ugly inside and I needed help.
I have heard it said that resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Oh how this was true in my life. The people, places or things that I was upset about weren’t hurting like I was inside. I suffered alone and thought my anger would “make them pay.” Instead, I was paying with my mental, spiritual and emotional health!
Let me share an example from my own life.
Years ago I started working at a bank. I didn’t know anything about banking and started as a teller. I quickly was promoted to the customer service phone banking center. A friend of mine at the time was looking for something new and I told her about some openings we had in our department. She applied and was hired.
Months later a “lead” position became available and this friend and I were the two people vying for the spot. She had become close friends with the department manager and spent time out of the office with her. We both went through the interviews and she was offered the job over me.
When I asked the manager why I didn’t get the job she said it was because she heard that I was looking for another job outside of the bank. They didn’t trust that I was reliable and would stay. Those things said about me were not true and I was so upset. I was sure that I knew who had told those lies, but it was too late, the decision had been made.
I felt hurt and betrayed. A friend had sold me out to advance her career. I immediately cut her from my life. I didn’t confront her to hear her side of the story. I believed she was the one who had said those things about me and in my mind our friendship was over.
Soon after I applied for and was hired for a different promotion within the bank. It was something that I couldn’t have applied for had I gotten the other promotion. Through that job I had the opportunity to advance in ways I had not planned or expected. In the long run, that no was a gift.
But despite that, I held onto the resentment.
I spoke poorly about her to others, I refused to let that betrayal go and acted rudely towards her if we came into contact with one another. I wanted her to hurt because she had hurt me.
Today I am just sad about how I handled everything. Honestly, I don’t know that our friendship could have been restored…but I certainly didn’t act in a Christ-like way. I had the chance to show grace and instead I spewed hatred. That isn’t how I want to be remembered.
Someone in my bible study shared that when you let someone off your “hook”, you are putting them on God’s hook instead. He sees all, He knows. But what if I missed an opportunity to be grace to someone who didn’t know God’s grace in a real and tangible way. That is my regret.
So today I use that situation as a reminder to me. I didn’t like the way I felt during those years. I don’t feel good when I am holding onto anger and resentment. Today when I am hurt by someone I try and pray for them.
It is hard to be angry at someone while praying a blessing over their life.
It doesn’t always mean that the relationship can be restored to the way it had been before the hurt…but it does mean that I am letting go and letting God handle the hurts. There is freedom in that.
Through prayer we can bring those hurts to God. He understands, He can bring peace into the darkest hearts. But we have to be willing to let go of our desire to hurt back. Easier said than done at times…I know! But again, it brings freedom and I think we all need that!
Lord, we come to you with our hurts. We know that You are a God who restores. Help us Lord to let go of resentments, to stop living in unforgiveness so that we can walk in freedom. We thank you Lord that you gave us the greatest example of grace. Help us to show grace to those that have hurt us as well. We know that often times we will only be able to do it in Your name and because of Your power! We need You moment by moment Lord! In Jesus Name, Amen!