We have all had enemies. People who don’t want the best for us, people who mock or ridicule us, abusers, liars, cheaters, etc. I used to get angry at them. I mean how could they do that to me? Don’t they have a conscience? But I found that the more stuff happened, the angrier I was. That was not helping me heal, it was preventing me from healing.
Yes, I had to accept that what others do or say is NOT my responsibility. I was not the fixer. I was not the Holy Spirit. I had to love a person enough to let them be fully responsible for their own behavior. If they were a jerk – it WAS NOT my fault. I also learned one important thing that helped me in all future relationships:
“What you allow is will continue” – Elizabeth Gilbert
This one scared me, because I had buried my head in the sand and allowed ALOT of things, and guess what? They continued! It took me years to break this self defeating behavior and lots of the Word of God, with lots of Counseling. It was worth it. I had to learn how to let go of all the anger I held onto. That is where Jesus had to help. I had a lot of “private rooms” in my mind where I wouldn’t let anyone in. It’s hard to heal if you just sit in the darkness. I started seeking out how to forgive my enemies.
This made absolutely no sense! Really pray for my enemies? Oh my, that was a big ask. But after being so miserable, I thought, ok Jesus, I’ll try it your way…I started praying for my family members who are following the New Age way and want nothing to do with Jesus. I started praying for my exs – ugh- who had abused me and my children. I started to pray because I was so mad at God I was blaming Him for stuff too.
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” – John 20:23 NKJV
Until I had a thought (well it was a revelation really). What if my forgiveness of them opens the door for Jesus to walk in? It seems like if I hold onto their sin, than they don’t have an open door to Jesus. They remain in the dark. I don’t want to be that person. This verse tells me I can forgive anyone and they are forgiven. That’s a lot of forgiving to do!
I believe everyone needs Jesus. I don’t know how anyone can go through life without the Savior, the Comforter, the Healer, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus came to seek and save them ALL. What if I prayed for my enemies and then God walked in? All things are possible with God. If I lift HIM up He will draw all men/women to HIM! So why not?
Remember Jesus on the cross? He said,
“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – Luke 23:33-34 NKJV
Remember Steven as they were stoning him?
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”-Acts7:57-60 NKJV
We DO have the power and the responsibility to forgive sins, God said so. What if instead of getting angry and resentful, we forgive and forgive, and forgive and ask God NOT to charge them with this sin? Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.
Also, if I choose not to forgive them, the Bible shares what could happen to me:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him].”– Matthew 5:43-45 AMP
“Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak]. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin]. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.”-Ephesians 4:29-32 AMP
“ For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.”-Matthew 6:14-15 AMP
“ Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]”-Mark11:25-26AMP
Also, God promised to avenge us. It’s not our job to keep score. God knows, and I trust Him to deal with it. My job is to forgive. Forgiveness is not a free ride for more abuse. God doesn’t want that for us. I did need to make changes on what I would allow and not allow. I had to learn to forgive myself too.
What are your thoughts on forgiveness?