After the incident, harsh thoughts kept me up for hours each night.
I wished that man would pay for what he did to me.
I wished he would feel how he made me feel – the violation, the humiliation, the paranoia.
I wished he would burn in hell.
For months, these thoughts consumed my mind. Slowly but surely, my heart was rotting away. Unforgiveness was crippling me. My bitterness was becoming too heavy to bear.
I knew it was my duty, as a Christian, to extend forgiveness. I knew it was my duty to pray for my enemies. I knew it was my duty to love my enemies.
But I didn’t want to forgive him. I most certainly didn’t want to love him. He didn’t deserve it, I thought.
The Lord hit me hard with the realization that if that man ever turns to Christ, he will be forgiven in a heartbeat. His promise in 1 John 1:9 is true: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
No sin is too great for God to forgive.
The thing is, I don’t know that man’s heart. I don’t know what he has been through. I don’t know how he has been hurt.
Lamentations 3:22 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”
Then, He reminded me of my own sin.
He shifted my perspective – I saw the depth of God’s forgiveness and mercy for the things that we, as humans, believe to be the “greatest” of sins.
For the very first time, I saw my own sin on the same level as that man’s sin on that dark day. And it changed everything.
It has been exactly one year since the incident. It took courage, faith, and prayer to forgive. It meant I had to allow my hurt to boil back up to the surface. It meant I had to process through my pain, and continually hand it to God.
The journey to forgiveness wasn’t easy, but once I arrived there, the most beautiful thing happened – I had a healed soul, and to my surprise, a genuine love towards my offender. My longing was no longer for my own healing but for that man to find the love of Christ.
I was free.
Maybe you’re trapped in bitterness. Maybe you wish pain upon your wrongdoer. Maybe your wounds still run deep.
Take it to God in prayer. When we ask for His help, He willingly responds.
Let His steadfast love and mercy for His people gently change you.
Let Him heal your negative thoughts and broken heart.
Let Him release you from bondage of unforgiveness.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36