One of the most painful experiences in life comes when someone that we trust fails us in some way. A spouse, friend, child, parent, leader, team member, whoever….it hurts.
I’m not talking about showing up late or forgetting to turn off the lights. I’m talking about when someone you trust makes a decision that costs you emotional anguish.
It’s brutal watching a husband destroyed after a wife has left him or seeing the tears roll down a pastor’s face as he shares how a leader he invested in for years has wounded him deeply. Trust was given and in just a moment it’s been crushed.
But there’s hope. You don’t have to stay in that wounded state forever. You can heal, grow and move forward if you choose to. Here are 3 points to remember when walking through this valley:
1. Be Honest with yourself. Nothing keeps unforgiveness under the surface longer than acting like you’re not hurt. When someone fails us we feel loss. You know what that is? Grief. You can’t begin the grieving process until you admit there’s a wound.
2. Remember God’s grace toward you. It’s vital that we remind ourselves quickly of the times when we’ve wounded others. This moves us away from staying in a victim mentality and it refreshes our memory that we’ve needed forgiveness for our mistakes as well. In fact the apostle Paul wrote: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (ESV). When we’re honest about the grace we’ve received from Jesus our heart is in a better position to give grace to others.
3. Forgive quickly. Many people are under the misunderstanding that forgiving someone is acting like what the person has done is OK, that’s not true. Forgiveness is giving up my right for pay back: physically and emotionally and giving it over to God. I say it should be done quickly because the longer you wait the more vulnerable you are to bitterness setting in. If you can do this face to face: do it. If that’s not possible, then by written card or letter. Don’t cling to this offence, your freedom from bitterness depends on it!
I’ve seen first hand the joy of relationships being deeper and stronger after coming through a time of trial. Own it, remember God’s grace and forgive.
I’d love to hear from you. What 1 step would you add to this process? Share below.