When I Can’t Forgive

When I am hurting it is easy to allow bitterness and anger to seep in. Although I would like to excuse these feelings and justify them, they are evil in God’s sight. Yet, they flood my heart anyway.  One of the hardest things to forgive is betrayal from someone you love. It’s the worst type of heartache, the kind that lingers and brings up blame. Unfortunately, at some point in life most of us will feel it and if you haven’t been there, someone you love probably has, or will be.  When the time comes I pray the following thoughts and verses can help bring comfort.

Rom12:21(ESV) “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”

Betrayal is defined as, “to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling; to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; to deceive, misguide, or corrupt.” When we betray we seek our own protection or benefit at the expense of someone else.

Ps34: 17-18 (NCV) “The Lord hears his people when they call to him. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Although I feel lost and crushed, I need to remind myself, God never loses me. He restores me to Himself. He uses all things, even the miserable times. God is here rescuing me from myself and crying with me. He is going before me and fighting for me so that I will not be consumed by my anger and pain. He shows me how to replace evil with his good. He will help me to overcome pride and anger in my heart so I can forgive.

Is 66:9 (NCV) “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. “If I cause you pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God.

These points of impact and collision in my heart of things that do not make sense to me and make me feel like I’m being ripped apart –they are part of the process that can make me stronger, build my character and deepen my faith. As much as I don’t want them to be part of this process, they are. The words in Isaiah 66 brought me great comfort, and just when I think I cannot bear under it, He sends his love in cherished moments to help me through it.

It’s that moment when your two best friends figure out how to work the three way calling function on your phone so they can comfort you and make you laugh out loud amidst a sea of tears. It’s a text message from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while just saying, “You were on my heart, I love you. How are you?”, even if they have no idea what door they are opening with that question. It’s when the tears run out, you’re exhausted and tired of being angry and feel like you’re going to shatter into a million pieces, but instead God gives you peace and you feel the comfort of what must be others silent prayers for you and on your behalf. It’s your favorite dark chocolate bar melting in your mouth from a care package from a dear friend with Kleenex, bath salts, mini facials, ZzzQuil, and a make shift doll of her made out of a plastic bottle, some scotch tape and some cloth with a selfie stuck to the cap as a head – No, I’m not making that last one up. It happened.

In these moments momentary relief comes and I know these are from God himself. I’ll come through this, by His strength and not my own. God will help me forgive and He will heal. He will give me the humility to see all He has rescued me from so that I can forgive as He forgave me. I can also deal with what is in my own heart instead of focusing on the other and trust that He is just. His justice is better than mine.

Hosea 14:4 (NIV) “I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.”

This journey is long and hard, and there are times I have seen others on it and been at a loss for words. I hated seeing their pain and wanted to take it away, I wanted them to snap out of it and to see themselves as I saw them, through God’s eyes, as beautiful and precious to Him. But in the midst of darkness it is hard to see the light and we need His word all the more to remind us of His truth. It is only who God is that can get me through this. He wants me to remember my waywardness and how He loves me freely.  He is trustworthy.

Ps25:5-16(NCV)”Guide me in your truth, and teach me, my God, my Savior. I trust you all day long. Lord, remember your mercy and love that you have shown since long ago. But remember to love me always because you are good, Lord. The Lord is good and right; he points sinners to the right way. He shows those who are humble how to do right, and he teaches them his ways. All the Lord’ s ways are loving and true for those who follow the demands of his agreement. My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help. He will keep me from any traps. Turn to me and have mercy on me, because I am lonely and hurting.”

Psalm 3:3(NCV) But, Lord, you are my shield, my wonderful God who gives me courage.

Psalm 56:8-9(NCV) You have recorded my troubles. You have kept a list of my tears. Aren’t they in your records? On the day I call for help, my enemies will be defeated. I know that God is on my side.

Tears are prayers too. God catches each one. He knows betrayal intimately. He forgave it so that I could be restored to Him. In the most public way He redeemed me for Himself on the cross to give me the power, strength and love I need to forgive like Him and experience His love all the more.

Ps 73:23-24 (NCV) But I am always with you; you have held my hand. 24 You guide me with your advice, and later you will receive me in honor.

Ps46:1-5(NCV) “God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea, even if the oceans roar and foam, or the mountains shake at the raging sea. There is a river that brings joy to the city of God, the holy place where God Most High lives…God will help her at dawn.”

This is one of my favorite passages. I cling to it all the more as I can feel my world shaking and falling in around me. Verse 5 in the NIV reads, “God is within her, she will not fall, God will help her at the break of day.” This gives me hope that He is within me like He was within this desolate city and tomorrow is a new dawn. With each passing day he brings more healing because when I seek Him, he delivers (Ps34:4). So maybe you have not felt the sting of betrayal personally but now you have a few more verses to share with someone who has, or will.  You are not equipped to fight for them, just like my friends can not fight for me, but our great God is fully equipped. I recently saw a quote on SheReadsTruth.com, “God doesn’t leave loose ends.” This quote reminded me of God’s track record. It helped me to trust just a little bit more that even in this time He is at work, He is not finished. He is ever present, with me, within me, goes before me and He is all this for you too. So if you or someone you love finds themselves fighting to forgive, remind them of these truths – we can overcome it with our great God.

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