A hard lesson to learn

Forgiveness verses Bitterness

Our Lord God has taught me many lessons since I have been a Christian. One of the hardest things that I have had to learn is how to forgive others when they have caused me harm. Very soon after I gave my life to Jesus, he showed me that it is impossible to live the Christian life effectively if I do not forgive. He showed me that I cannot love someone if I am holding a grudge against them. I remember saying many prayers and reading endless books on the subject, but it took a lot of time and so much anguish trying to do what for me was the impossible. I learned that if I would not forgive, then I would be hurt much more than the person I had something against.
I have been deeply hurt by other peoples actions against me, starting from an abusive childhood and then moving on to two abusive marriages.Not only that, but by lots of other people along the way, I just seemed to be open for people to treat me as badly as they liked!
(Not any more though, as my lovely Lord has shown me that I am worth much more and I will not allow anyone to treat me badly again!)
I have had a lot of practice in forgiving, so when the ‘biggie’ came I was able to be strong in the Lord and forgive.
On 28th August 2003 my son was murdered by a neighbour of his. He was only 29, and was kind and gentle and would never hurt anyone, and yet his neighbour stabbed him countless times over a dispute about noise. The man who did it was not sorry for his actions and did not feel any remorse.
Even so, I knew that I had to forgive him, even though he certainly does not deserve to be forgiven anymore than I deserve to be forgiven for my wrongdoings. I know that I surprised and even shocked a lot of people at the time, that I could do it so quickly and so easily. I even surprised myself, but I knew that it was not me but the Lord working in me. In doing so, God gave me deep peace, and I have been free from any bitterness that I would otherwise have felt. God demands that we forgive for a reason, he knows what unforgiveness can do to us, and wants to save us from that.
Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”. That is so true, when we hurt others, we do not realise all the damage that is being done to them as well as ourselves, and how can we expect to be forgiven if we do not forgive others. If we want to be forgiven, we must ‘do for others what we want them to do for us’.

Moya Wilson

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