Have you ever had someone consume all your thoughts because they had hurt you, scarring your memories and life? Forgiving when I want justice, this is the hard part, one easily said but difficult to do in theory.
Recently in the news, I saw that two of my former school teachers were being accused of sexually assaulting young men they had formerly taught. One of those teachers was very cruel to me when I was in grade eight. Every chance he had he humiliated and insulted me in front of my peers. At one point he physically harmed me. If it had been the year 2018, he would have gone to jail.
He and the other teacher are both deceased. Two men who are their former students are charging the school board for what happened to them when they were in public school. I was reminded once again of the man I had grown to hate.
Yes, I could throw in some of my own charges also, I’m sure many of us could.
I had thought over the years of all the terrible things I would like seen done to this man. The man who made me feel worthless, stupid, unimportant, and of little value.
But the interesting thing is I didn’t feel anger resurface when I heard the mean teacher was being accused again. I felt sadness. Not so much for him but for his wife and children. The innocent people in this big mess. At that moment I wanted to call them up and ask, “Are you okay, how are you doing?” Unfortunately, they will have to carry the shame of what their husband and father did. I wish they didn’t have to. They will be more hurt than I ever was.
I am not casting judgement on the men coming forward. Their stories are painful and they need closure. I hope they find healing through telling their story.
The mean teacher had already gone to jail before he had passed away for other crimes against young men he had committed. I didn’t really feel any better when he served his time.
When I was a child, I had stepped on a hot metal grate that had been covered over with sand on a beach. My family had been camping and it was early morning when my sisters and I were running across the beach and I screamed out and yelped. I limped back to our camper and my mother took a look at my foot which was now red and swelling.
Over a few days, fluid built up as a huge water blister formed from the burn, about the size of half a lemon. My mom wanted to pop it but I wouldn’t let her. I thought it was going to hurt badly when it broke. I limped around for weeks and walked on my tip toes on my injured foot so as to not break the blister.
One day my sister Shaun and I were crossing the field behind our house when I felt a gushing in my shoe. I sat down and took my shoe off and looked at my foot. Sure enough, the blister had broken and my skin was flat again. I hadn’t even felt an ounce of pain. For about twenty more years the skin at times would feel tight on that foot especially in cold weather.
Why am I telling you this story?
Forgiving when I want justice…
When someone hurts us it forms a blister on the sole of our heart. We can nurse that wound for a long time and we get used to having it. If we have been encouraged to let it go, to let God remove that blister, we can move on and have it heal.
But we don’t want to forgive and move on. We like feeling angry at someone and secretly making them pay for what they’ve done to us. Or we like feeling in control, especially after feeling someone had controlled us.
We feel justified.
Oh, I’ve been there a thousand times. God keeps bringing me back and asking me to forgive people. It’s not in our human nature to forgive. This is a gift from God, one he wants to bestow on us abundantly. He’s still working on me…until I reach heaven’s gates. God’s asking me to forgive my teacher. I have decided yes, its time. I am letting go of a blister that has been festering for about thirty-five years.
“Here God take my wound and heal it for good.”
Seeing the villain punished for his crimes may momentarily bring me some satisfaction. But it will not break the blister. Justice will put a bandage over it temporarily. Forgiving the person who hurt us, is when the blister can finally be broken and the nasty fluid can escape (unforgiveness, hate, resentment).
Is there a blister you’ve been nursing and you know it’s time to release it and let God tend it with his healing hands?
Yes, you may feel the after effects for a few years. But eventually, you will get to a point where you no longer let that person reside in your daily thoughts.
There is freedom in forgiving…moving on.
You are allowing God to release you to walk with peace, happiness and joy because you no longer have a blister on the sole of your heart – causing you to limp along and slow you down.
Is it time?
Time to have yourself freed from your villain and move on. The perfect moment to give up the resentment and bitterness.
Justice is good, it really is, but God also loves mercy.
I promise this is what God wants for you. He wants us to break the curse placed upon us by letting God come in and place love and forgiveness where there was once pain and hurt.
Remember Jesus forgave us at the cross where he cruelly bore our sin that put his innocent soul there.
Can we not also forgive?
I believe we can.
*Another area God calls many of us to work on is our marriage. Read, Ten Regrets I Had As A Wife.