The just shall live by faith. –Galatians 3:11
“She betrayed me,” I told myself and others who were willing to listen to the sad tale of me and my friend’s controversy. While inside I was thinking, “If I can just gather their sympathy, I can justify my hurt and anger.” And it worked for a while. Then one day I was telling another acquaintance when she responded with, “There is only one way to get past this.”
What? I wasn’t really interested in ‘getting past this’ at all. I was looking for sympathy. After all, I was the victim here and I shouldn’t have to do anything!
However, I was interested in responding as a Christian should, and so I listened to her as we talked about forgiveness. Of course, just saying that I would forgive my friend didn’t change my feelings at all, I had to genuinely mean it. I would have to “forgive by faith.” And since I was going to see her soon I told the Lord I was going to act in faith. Even though I had not forgiven her yet I treated her the same as if I had no hard feelings against her, and He changed my heart. I learned some important life lessons that very day.
First, I realized she had not wanted to hurt me—things just happened. I knew her character and I began understanding that she was not out to get me. Really, it wasn’t about me at all.
More importantly, I knew that God had brought me to the place where I could really forgive. Carrying around anger and hurt is not what He wants for us. Part of the abundant life He offers is freedom from destructive anger and undeniable hurt. Through this experience I also learned to live and to love others by faith, even when it’s hard. When we do the right thing, God will give us the right attitude about it.
Is there someone you can’t seem to forgive? Treat them as forgiven people, and watch what God will do.