Have you ever gone through a hurtful situation that didn't have a resolution?
This week something happened that was really difficult. It was a reminder that my heart is still in the process of healing in some areas, and I have to set boundaries in certain areas in order to walk in peace.
There are circumstances in life that may bring up the past, but the truth is the past doesn't have to become our future. The word says we go from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18), but I've realized it's a road we chose to take! Psalm 37:37 says, "Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; For the future of that man is peace."
In my own life, going through the pain has so much to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness is such a big part of Christianity. After all, Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sins. Thankfully, this is a continual renewal! We can be continually renewed and cleansed as we ask for forgiveness and the courage and strength to do His will. When I'm hurt again or reminded of something hurtful that happened in the past, my default response has to be forgiveness -- and laying the offense at the foot of the cross.
Forgiveness is not about the other person -- it's about us. A wise person once said, "Holding on to bitterness is like drinking poison and wishing the other person would die." Holding onto grudges only hurts us.
What I've learned in my life is that in Christianity, if people do not understand how they have sinned against us, after telling the person in private, and after another person is brought to confront the individual, there is a loss of fellowship with that person. Matthew 18 goes into detail for how to confront a fellow believer. It goes so far as to say, "But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector." (Matthew 18:17, NKJV) The Message version states, "If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love."
A wise person recently told me, "You have to set boundaries with people who continue to hurt you and fellowship with them when you are healed enough to maintain your peace and be Jesus to that person." This was such good advice. We will be alone facing God at the end of our lives for our actions and choices here on earth -- no one will be there with us, and no one will account for our behavior -- it will be us alone.
I was asking God about this and I was lamenting all that could have been. I said, "God, I've spent too much time dealing with hurt related to this situation over the course of my life and too much time crying. How many opportunities must I have lost?"
I heard a still small voice that said, "It's what you do with the opportunities I place in front of you that counts."
This speaks volumes, and it's so encouraging. If you feel as though things have been stolen from you due to another person's choices, God's word is so redemptive! He promises to restore all the enemy has stolen.
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten," it says in Joel 2:25. Also in Psalms 23:3 it says, "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake."
In the story of Job, after the enemy (Satan) had been allowed to take everything Job owned and destroy his family, God gave them seven times what he had before. (Job 42:12)
The truth is, God is a redeemer for those who seek Him and walk with Him!