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A short time ago, my coworker was going through myspace and he pulled up a picture of my old ship captain and showed it to me. Now, not that I am one to purposefully hold a grievance. No. I’m a pretty easy forgiver. But there are certain incidents that are hard even for me to recover from enough to forgive.

This captain caused me a great deal of grief and hurt. Not that I believe he consciously desired to hurt me. But human nature being what it is, well, he did. His actions, along with a few others, drove me to a mental state of such despair that I feared I would never recover. I almost killed myself over this incident. And I would not wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy.

So when my coworker innocently showed me a picture of a man I haven’t even seen for over seven months…I had to look away. I couldn’t look at him. I could feel dark emotions beginning to churn within me and in order to keep them from suddenly arising and drowning me in anger, I turned away.

I thought I had forgiven him. And perhaps consciously I had. But my reaction to that picture told me that there was still a very bitter grudge beneath the surface of my emotions. And I didn’t know how to make it go away.

Listen, brothers and sisters. It’s real cute when we say offences come but it’s our choice to receive them. But it’s not reality. Many offences will punch you beneath the belt whether you gave them permission to or not. And guess what? It’s going to hurt whether you pretend it does or not. So what am I saying? We are going to battle with forgiveness whether we admit we do or pretend we don‘t.

I would love to meet the soul who can walk through this life and never hold a single grudge. Oh wait, that was Jesus. Haha. I am going to meet Him one day. J

The wonderful thing about this is that at our weakest, God is strongest. You see, it is one thing for us to not walk in forgiveness and have no desire whatsoever to do so, and a total different thing for us desire to forgive but really struggle with the execution. In the first situation, God is able to help us. But it’s in the latter that He is fully glorified.

As long as we desire to forgive, our Heavenly Father will take us through a heart process. This is where He rolls up His sleeves, gets down and dirty with our dirt and our hurt, and begins to spread healing through our souls. And as He heals, He coaxes us ever closer toward our goal of forgiving the instigator of our pain. Even if that instigator is ourselves.

So be encouraged. If you are in a hot spot like me where you want to forgive but are finding it just a tad bit out of your reach, just keep walking with God. He will guide our footsteps until we are finally at that place of grudge-free peace. And He will love us through every step of the way.

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1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongs—
O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
Render punishment to the proud.
3 LORD, how long will the wicked,
How long will the wicked triumph?
(Psalm 94:1-3, New King James Version)

What is the cost of vengeance? Is it the death of your enemies? Oh, child. Would you like me to strike down every man who has offended your eyes, stepped on your foot? What of those who have betrayed you? Hurt you? Abused you? What is the cost of their vengeance?

Day and night, my children cry out for vengeance. They know I am righteous. I am judge of good and evil. Nothing escapes my eyes. Yes, vengeance is mine. Indeed, I will repay. I will repay death as sin’s consequence. Death–the price of true offense.

Who shall die? If I should exact vengeance on all who deserve, then who shall die? All those that have sinned against you, beloved child of mine. All those who have maliciously used you. All those who have stolen, lied, and wounded you. These shall die. These shall suffer. These deserve hell’s fire.

For is not death and eternal damnation the weight of sin?

Who, then, can be saved? Who will survive the fire of my wrath? If I should I answer every prayer that pleads for vengeance, then none would be saved. Oh, child. You do not know what you demand. For you, too, have offended. You, neither, will be spared my wrath.

This is not my desire. This is not my will. What you request is devastation. The vision of it fills my Soul with mourning. I cannot bring it to pass. My love will not allow it. But righteous judgment demands it.

All wrongs must be revenged.

But who can stand the heat of my vengeance? None. All shall be consumed.

Therefore, I sent my Son. On him, I unleashed the fire of my indignation. On him, I required recompense of every wrong committed against my children, by my children. Christ paid the cost of vengeance.

To reject the sacrifice of my Son is to stand before me on Judgment Day and say, “Almighty God, I have chosen to stand as my own defense. I have been wronged. I have wronged others. But I have done good. I have supported charity. I have given to the needy. I have served my country. I have loved my wife.”

And I will say, “Foolish one, because you rejected Christ‘s atonement, I find you worthy of my wrath. Every wrong you have committed against Heaven and Earth has a consequence. That consequence is death. You dare stand before the Father of the only man capable of paying this price, and say, I stand as my own defense?

“Defend then, you who knows all! You who doesn’t need Jesus Christ, explain to me why I should ignore the prayers of vengeance prayed against you? You who is pure and perfect, tighten your belt and answer me! Why should I spare you from the fires of hell that you deserve–fires from which you have rejected salvation? Answer me, you who rejects God’s grace?”

And there will be no answer, because none can be given.

So I will harden my heart against the sorrow of another lost child and say, “Guilty.”

Because, whether it be through the Son of Man, or through their own demise, in the end, vengeance must and will be paid. All wrongs will be revenged.

That is the judgment of God.