What did I do?
A loved one hurts you. It could be a family relationship – sister/brother, parent/child, husband/wife – or close friendship. Time goes by. The disagreements end but there are not many conversations with each other. You end up in social situations together due to common family and friends. There may even be movement of the perpetrator toward the hurt one in his or her actions showing signs of getting over the disagreement, maybe even overtures of kindness as if nothing had happened. The one who was hurt may try to get over it too and wants to move on but it’s difficult. There’s so much pain under the seemingly normal exterior of the interactions.
The same facts as above. However, the one who caused pain to the other asks for forgiveness. He or she explains to the other that what was done was wrong, that there is understanding that the actions caused pain, that they were hurtful even if unintended, that the person will try to act differently, to accept and not judge, to love. This act of repentance releases the hurt person from the bondage in that relationship caused by the bad behavior allowing him or her to begin the process of forgiveness and hopefully ultimate restoration of their closeness.
Everyone has tsuris, heartache. We all have hurt others and have been hurt by others. Although in many situations our choice of actions and responses sculpt our sense of well being, when hurt is involved, the actions and responses of the perpetrator directly affect our ability to recover emotionally vis-à-vis that person. We are in an interactional, relational dance of damaged love needing both partners to move if to be in synchrony.
When Yeshua was on the cross and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” it described one side of the hurt transaction; our Abba was asked to forgive mankind for our hurtful acts without our repentance. Today, do we by our actions and words demonstrate how sorry we are for all that we have done and continue to do to hurt our Abba? Not only did mankind reject our Messiah, but daily when we hurt each other we hurt Him. Do we really know not what we do? Is it reasonable to expect forgiveness, to act as if nothing happened, without repentance? As Yeshua took on the sins of mankind, if even He beseeched the Father to forgive without our repentance, how much moreso is forgiveness without the perpetrator’s teshuvah impossible for us mere mortals?
Without repentance there can be no forgiveness. As Yeshua walks with us through our trying times, our burdens are as His when others hurt us. And as we cling to Him, we are reminded that our transgressors often do not know, or are not willing to admit, what they are doing that is so painful to us. We hold Him close to help us get through the seemingly endless time until the injuring party can figure it out (hopefully) and come to us in humility and repentance, allowing us to forgive and begin the road to healing.
This week I encourage you to think of those in your life whom you may have hurt and really work hard to change your actions in ways that are filled with love toward one another. In your words, actions, and heart, seek deep repentance. And if you are working through a hurt caused by another, cling to our Messiah for strength for He only knows too well what you are going through. He lived it and continues to do so for all of us.
Hasten the day that all brothers and sisters will live in His ways of love toward one another when forgiveness will be complete.
This post reminds me of a situation I had with my best friend. She really hurt me after my dad died. And we didn’t talk for 1 year. Then we started to be friends again, even good friends. Though I tried to just forgive her without an apology from her and move on, I still held such bitterness in my heart toward her. Maybe 2 years after I had a direct conversation with her where I told her that I still had this bitterness and that I wanted to forgive her and had tried but I just found myself unable to. She then spent maybe 10 min and apologized completely. She said that she was so ashamed of her actions and she had been trying to use actions rather than words but she realized after hearing I was still hung up about it that maybe words were needed. And she took complete responsibility. It was amazing what happened. It was as if instantly all that bitterness disappeared and it never returned. I am still amazed at how rapidly that relationship was fully restored to it’s previous state and even better given the testing of that relationship. Now when I think of her I never have a negative thought or twinge. I only see her as my best friend and someone who made one of the best apologies, true from the heart with no “careful word choice” to escape responsibility. Though I still believe our forgiveness shouldn’t be totally reliant on someone asking forgiveness, it surely helps!