Few things are worse than being betrayed or let down by someone we love. When they hold our hearts, we’re vulnerable. When they turn and walk away, the pain is almost physical. There aren’t many of us who’ve escaped this type of heart pain. We’ve been burned and might have a few scars to prove it.
The Bible talks about forgiveness. Even when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, forgiveness was one of the essentials that Jesus included. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” You can also substitute the word “debts” for trespasses. Either one works just fine. I think it’s ironic that although Jesus is fully aware of the pain we feel when we’ve been trespassed against, He tells us to pray and ask forgiveness in the same measure that we forgive. Ouch. Really? Quite often it’s easy for us to pray for mercy for ourselves while we ask judgment for someone else who’s hurt us. Maybe that’s why He emphasized our need to ask forgiveness first.
I know that I’ve prayed for certain people who’ve hurt me and crushed my heart in the past. It’s easy to speak the words because I “know” that forgiveness is a gift I must give them. I’ve heard the sayings, that unforgiveness hurts me than it hurts the offender, etc. However, the feelings are still there. How to deal with those, especially when being confronted with that person once again?
I’ve learned that forgiveness is a process that goes beyond my feelings. Once trust is broken, giving someone our trust again comes more slowly. Self-preservation is a very powerful force. “Burn me once, then stay away” is the easiest sentiment to hold. However, how do we know when it’s all right to trust again?
There’s an old song that has the phrase “use your head to guide your heart.” I think that’s a wise saying. I believe if we ask God for discernment that someone who once wronged us is trustworthy, He’ll give it to us. But we must be wise, and be cautious, and give it time.
Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of five novels and six novellas for Barbour Publishing. When Lynette’s not writing, she divides her time between editing medical reports and chasing down news stories for the local newspaper. Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband and a herd of cats who have them well-trained. She loves reading, cooking, watching movies, and is always up for a Texas road trip.