Today’s Question and Answer
I’m interested in knowing more about how to forgive people who have wronged me, and how would I know I actually have forgiven them? I have to pray about it, because the hurt doesn’t go away—and when it comes back, I want to be angry all over again. So, how can I succeed in forgiving them?
Asked by: Henrietta
Well Henrietta, I speak to you today with a great deal of compassion, because I know that bitterness is so destructive and sometimes it sticks like Velcro to the human heart.
But I do need to make a couple of comments, first of all you need to lay it down. Even if there is no possibility of reconciliation with the people who have hurt you, you need to simply say, “God I give this up, I turn it over to You.” The Bible says, “Vengeance is mine, I will recompense says the Lord.”
My question to you, Henrietta, is this: Do you have enough faith to believe that God’s going to take care of it in His own time and in His own way so that you can walk free? You may say: Pastor Lutzer, no my faith isn’t that great.
But here’s what you do, you come before the Lord and you simply choose to let go and to trust Him. And when you’re desperate it’s amazing how much He will help you and even grant you the ability to trust.
Now what happens when those feelings of bitterness return? Well, you do the same thing again. What you will discover is that over a period of time, you’ll be free from the bitterness. And you’ll do yourself a favor: you’ll honor God. Someone has well said that bitterness is like swallowing poison and then expecting your enemy to die. You see, you aren’t hurting your enemy because of your anger Henrietta, you’re hurting yourself. As soon as you listen to this, you get on your knees, and you spend enough time there to give it all to God.
Note: More information can be found in Pastor Lutzer’s book and sermon series: When You’ve Been Wronged.