Summary: A final look at forgiveness part 4 of 4.
The Weight of Forgiveness
February 21, 2010
Can you believe for the past 8 weeks we have looked at only 2 very relevant topics. We’ve looked at anger for 4 weeks, and now we are on week 4 of forgiveness. You won’t want to miss next week’s conclusion to the series. It’s not that we’re going to do something entertaining, but it has the potential to be a very spiritual worship experience. That’s all I can say about it for now.
One thing you will learn about forgiveness is the fact that you may think you have worked through the process of forgiveness, feel at peace; and the universe is all good, then BOOM!! You have to work through it all over again. It’s not a whole lot of fun, but if we work the process we’ll be better off in the long run.
There’s two things I want to accomplish this morning. This first is to answer some questions that people gave me over the past week. After that, I want to look at some words from Jesus what we call The Lord’s Prayer.
So, strap in, and here we go. The people who asked me questions gave me permission to anonymously use their questions during this message. I will answer them in no special order, it’s just the way they were listed on my paper.
1. You mentioned Sunday that sometimes you need to end a relationship if someone continues to hurt you. What about when it is family or a spouse?
WOW!! What a tough, but great question. What do we do when someone continues to hurt us, but they’re family?! I’ve lived through that. Firstly, we need to be healthy ~ emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and physically. So, I would ask “are you taking care of yourself in the 4 aspects of your being?” That’s so important and one we often neglect.
Secondly, you need to determine the severity of the offense the other person has committed against you. By that, I mean have they hurt you physically or emotionally; or possibly financially? If it is a severe type of hurt and you aren’t living with that person, then you must set up boundaries which will protect you from getting hurt. Boundaries are not easy to set up, and once we do, we will realize that we don’t hold to them very well. It takes practice, determination, courage and lots of prayer. And let me add, prayer is involved in all of this. Pray for strength, pray God will give you wisdom and courage to honor and glorify Him with what you need to do to be healthy.
Thirdly, determine in what situations they hurt you. Do they hurt you in family gatherings, or is it when you call them, how does it occur? If it’s in family gatherings, don’t go. I know that sounds rash, but it’s for your protection, so don’t go. Don’t invite them over to your home.
If it’s a parent or a child, then can you set up healthy boundaries so this person can’t hurt you? For example, limit your telephone calls to the person; and when you talk to them, limit the amount of information you share with them. Make the call more generic in nature, don’t share your personal life. That may hurt, but it’s a way to protect your heart and spirit.
Lastly and this leads into a discussion if it is your spouse . . . you need to talk to that person. Determine what method works for talking to them. Can you be direct or will it go over their head. Do you need to tell them a story so they get what you are saying? I’m pretty blunt and prefer someone else to be blunt with me. I won’t understand a story, but for some people that’s the best way to communicate with them.
When it’s your spouse, you need to resolve the issue, as best as you can. That means you don’t brow beat them, you talk to them. Maybe you write a letter expressing your feelings and thoughts. Remember they are your thoughts and feelings, you own them. Nobody can diss them. If you haven’t approached this topic with them, then start out gently, they may not be aware of what they’re doing. So, this may shock them. Now, if this is an ongoing situation, you may need to talk to a professional Christian counselor, or someone you trust who can give you a little perspective on what is happening. And you need to do this together. Coming for counseling should be completed as a couple.
2. What should we do if someone won’t forgive us? How do you get over the guilt?
These aren’t easy, are they? Okay, you know you’ve done something to hurt someone else. You realize what you’ve done and you ask them to forgive you. You practice what you’re going to say, you pour your heart out to that person, it’s one of the most genuine moments in your life. You sense the presence and power of the Holy Spirit; it’s so wonderfully powerful and intimate. The person you hurt looks at you; and they don’t get it. They basically tell you to take a hike. “No way can I forgive you! Do you know what I’ve gone through because of you?” UGH!!