A long time ago someone close to me hurt me deeply. The pain was so intense that I turned my back on it and buried it deep inside, in the name of forgiveness. The Lord calls us to forgive, doesn’t He? So that’s what I did. Or so I thought.
Did I truly forgive? I remember telling myself that I forgave, but I just didn’t want to have anything to do with that person again. I very effectively turned my back on this person. Looking back, I am surprised that I was capable of being so hard hearted.
For that time in my life, turning my back was the best choice in removing myself from a dangerous situation. But today I see that forgiveness is needed still…the kind of forgiveness that the Lord gave me needs to be extended in my heart towards this person.
Colossians chapter 4 talks a great deal about having peace with one another:
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Col 4: 13
How did the Lord forgive me? He forgave me totally and completely of all my sins. He said that he will remember my sins no more, and he extends his hand to me and welcomes me as a His child. He opens up his heart for a relationship with me even though I have done nothing to deserve it. In fact, I deserve nothing less than for him to turn his back on me…just as I turned my back on a friend who hurt me so long ago.
What if the Lord told me, “I forgive you, but I don’t want to have anything to do with you,”?
I praise Him that he is Holy and is perfect and is so able to truly forgive! The Greek word used for forgive in Colossians 4:13 is charizomai. It means to grant forgiveness, to pardon, to give graciously and freely, and to bestow. The Lord forgave me graciously and forgives me still. He did not turn his back on me. He still leads me and is still my shield, my fortress, my light, and my way. He still wants to have something to do with me! He still sees me as his daughter!
In the space of time, I have come to realize that I still had unforgiveness in my heart. If I ran into this person on the street or in a store, I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be. Would I still turn my back and treat this person as a pariah? Or would I graciously extend forgiveness through my smile, my actions, and my words? Time and distance and a deeper relationship with the Lord have shown me that this person was counted among those who Christ cried over when he said, as he was being nailed to the cross,
Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:3
In my heart, today I freely forgive this person. If the Lord crosses our paths once again, I will remember this person’s sins against me no more. I will draw upon the Lord’s strength to do this, because the pain was deep and searing…but I will do this thing called forgiveness. Charizomai. And now…peace.