Forgiving is one of the most difficult things for a person to do. But whenever we give our hurts to God and tell Him, “Jesus, take this. I don’t want it anymore. I’m tired of it,” He covers the wounds, hurts, and pain with His love and makes us whole again.
God understands every situation and the heart of every person. We may never understand why someone acted a certain way or why they did whatever it was they did to us, but it’s not a matter of understanding, it’s a matter of forgiving. Yet forgiving is often difficult; it doesn’t come naturally. That’s why God says we need His help to do it. We receive the love and grace to forgive from Him.
Bad things happen to everyone. It’s how we handle troubles, problems, hurts, and disappointments that counts. When we allow ourselves to become resentful over things that hurt us, resentfulness will lead to bitterness. And bitterness, if it is allowed to follow its course, will weaken us spiritually. With time, the heart and mind will be more receptive to other negative thoughts about other situations and other people. Bitterness is like a plow that prepares the heart for the seeds of dissatisfaction and discouragement. If we don’t give it to God and let it all go, it can eventually overwhelm us and do a lot of damage to others in the process.
When you have bitterness or resentment in your heart, you often don’t see things clearly. Even special little things, gifts of God’s love, don’t mean as much to you because bitterness can blind you to the good. But once you give that to God, you can see things more clearly and experience God’s love a lot more.
Nothing can change the fact that those bad things happened, but the effect that they have on you today can be changed. They can be buried, they can be left behind, they can be shed, and God can bring good out of the experience. You can find freedom in letting those things go and not allowing them to control your life. It’s not as though that hurt or pain never happened, but God is able to take those circumstances—as dark, sad, hurtful, painful, or unjust as they may have been—and work them together for good in your life.1
When you truly give all your cares and burdens to God, He can soothe the hurts, He can mend the wounds, He can heal any hurt, any pain, anything from the past that you struggle with. All that He asks is that you let go.
It’s also good to remind ourselves that we need forgiveness too. Jesus says that if we forgive those who have wronged us, our Father in heaven will also forgive us.2 Realizing that you have also made mistakes or wrong decisions that have hurt others and that you also need a lot of forgiveness and mercy helps you to extend forgiveness and mercy to others.
And, of course, once you’ve given it all to God, you need to keep giving it to Him. Once you have forgiven, you need to carefully guard your spirit and avoid critical thoughts that could lead to future resentment and bitterness. You have to resist the temptation to dwell on hurts and think bad thoughts about people who wronged you.
Keep coming to God and loving Him and committing all to Him, and He will never fail you. Even if people fail or situations fail or you feel like you’ve failed, God never fails! His plan never fails, His love never fails, and He has His hand on your life. If you can believe and act on that, you’ll be a lot happier.
Forgive, let go, forsake bitterness, and move forward. As you do, He can give you a more loving, compassionate, and giving heart; He can help you to become a stronger, better person and a pillar that others can lean on. In other words, He will make you more like Him!
- See Romans 8:28.
- See Mark 11:25–26.