But what about those that continually hurt me over and over? How many times must I forgive? Jesus tells us to forgiven every single time they sin against you. Every time they hurt you there needs to be forgiveness offered.
Remember when you forgive those that have hurt you you are showing them Christ. You show your own relationship with God, as an example, when you choose to forgive regardless of how many times they hurt you.
Jesus is very clear when it comes to forgiveness. We are required to forgive. Eph 4:32 says …be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Col 3:12-14 reminds us that “Since God chose you to be the holy people who he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. The most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us together in perfect unity.”
And in Matt 5:44-45 Jesus says But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…”
Often times I have thought, “ I just CAN’T forgive them AGAIN! You don’t know how their words or actions have hurt me!”
Jesus says to come to Him. Being your burdens, your hurt and pain. Give them to Him to carry. He reminds me that I am to forgive again, just as I have been forgiven. He reminds me I am to love them and pray for them. I am partly right. I can not do it AGAIN without God’s Spirit.
Remember Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything that He doesn’t also give us the power to do THROUGH Him.
As I have sat here writing this I am reminded of Jan Silvious’s book FOOL-Proofing Your Life: An Honorable Way to Deal with the Impossible People in Your Live. In her book we are reminded that when dealing with those who are impossible (or continually hurt us) our response needs to be one of detaching, forgiving and praying for them.
We can “detach” ourselves from those who hurt us without totally ignoring them. We can still love them, forgive them and pray for them. To detach from them may simply mean to not associate closely with them. This can be a bit harder if it’s a family member but not impossible.
For example say you have a parent who constantly puts you down and criticizes you. Anytime you are together they leave you in a spirit of deep hurt. You can’t just stop being with them, after all they are your parent. You are to honor them. So what do you do? I love the answer Jan gives in her book. Yes she is talking about a “foolish” person but the principles apply just the same.
“It is your job to honor them, even if they are difficult and qualify as fools.” (pg209)This same principle can be applied regardless of who is the “habitual hurter” or “fool” in you life. Jesus says we must forgive and pray for those who sin against us and those who hurt us. We are called to love our enemies but that doesn’t mean we must also spend a lot of time together.
From these words (Matthew 15:3-6) you can deduce that you are not to speak evil of your parents… It is your role as a child to be responsible toward your parents, to not curse your mother or father, and to provide for their needs…Being emotionally intimate, spending a lot of time together, and being “one big happy family” is not required if it is not authentic; but being kind and meeting needs are. As long as you can detach, forgive and pray, you should be able to find the balance that God requires as you obey his command to honor your parents, no matter how foolish they may be.” (pg 210)
It is important to find the balance between those we are called to love, forgive and pray for without letting them continually to hurt us. BUT, if they do hurt us again, our response is clear, we are to love, forgive and pray.
And as I said in my previous post on forgiveness …
“The CROSS where Jesus took upon Himself the sin of mankind. MY sin, THEIR sin. When I look at them through the cross I can forgive, I can love and I can pray for them.”
(Verses are from NLT, emphasis mine.)