That very word stirs up emotions in all of us…doesn’t it?
I remember in the 4th grade I got sent to the principals office to get a spanking. (It was pretty normal, I would walk in and usually receive a greeting like Norm on Cheers.) A guy named Donnie and I had been cutting up…and the legalistic private school that I went to allowed no fun!!! (Ok, so I am sure it was something else…I just needed to try to play the “innocent” card.)
Donnie and I tried to be tough…and so after the paddling we both looked at each other and said, “That didn’t hurt.” That would not have been a problem except for the fact that we both walked back into the classroom and announced to everyone that it didn’t hurt!!!
When Mrs. Nalley walked back into the room a boy on the front row named Roy raised his hand and then proceeded to inform Mrs. Nalley of what I said…and so that day I got a “two for one” special!!! All I remember is Mrs. Nalley looking at me—I think fire actually came out of her eyes—and she told me to get BACK up to the office!
As I walked by Roy’s desk all I could think about was hitting him in the face. I gave him the dirtiest look that I could…and tried to chase him down after school…but I was way too chunky back then and so I could not catch him!!!
For the rest of the year I literally daydreamed about how to hurt Roy…and I was always looking for opportunities to do so. Roy had hurt me…someone needed to make him pay—and that someone was going to be me!!! I literally HATED him because he had caused me some pain—he owed me!!!
The next year I went to public school…and I haven’t seen Roy since. I look back on this and laugh now…I was so focused on getting revenge…I wanted him to hurt because he hurt me…and because of that I wasted a lot of time.
How about you? Is there a “Roy” in your life? Is there someone who has caused you pain, someone who hurt you…and all you can think about is hurting them back? Seriously, is there someone you just hope you can see coming towards you on their knees one day, begging for forgiveness…and you just laugh at them? Is there someone who you actually want to see suffer?
If so…then you are a sick person. AND…if you claim to be a Christian then this is an attitude that you and I simply cannot have. One of the scariest passages in the Bible is Matthew 6:14-15, keep in mind that JESUS said this—not me!!! (Two other passages you can check out on this is I John 2:9-11 and Ephesians 4:25-32.)
We do this you know—have mental conversations with people—and we can see us winning and them losing and then us feeling better about ourselves…is that what a walk with Christ is all about?
We are called to forgive!!! I know the argument, “But Perry—they don’t deserve to be forgiven.” Neither did you!!! We don’t EARN God’s forgiveness…He gives it to us…it’s called GRACE…and just as we are quick to receive God’s grace—we need to be quick to extend it as well.
I know this is hard for many reading this right now. You have some serious situations in your past in which someone caused you some SERIOUS pain…but you can’t continue to hold onto to bitterness and anger…it’s killing your joy. Being mad at someone and expecting it to hurt THEM is the same as drinking poison and expecting it to kill someone else!!!
How do you let go of anger? It’s a daily decision! I have had people in my past that I have had to forgive…and the enemy will often bring that person back up in my mind—and so there are times when I literally have to say out loud, “That person does not owe me…I have forgiven them.”
As long as you feel like someone owes you something due to the pain in your past—you will always be frustrated and miserable in your walk with Christ…but just like Christ said in John 19:30, “It is finished,” we need to follow His example by saying the same thing about those who have hurt us—“It is finished, you don’t owe me anyone…I am letting the debt of wrongdoing go!!!”
Anyone you need to forgive?