Forgiving and forgetting is one of the most difficult things for a person to do. But whenever we give our hurts to the Lord and tell Him, “Jesus, take this. I don’t want it anymore. I’m tired of it,” He covers the wounds and hurts and pain with His love and makes us whole again.
The Lord understands every situation and the heart of every man. We may never understand why someone acted a certain way or why they did whatever it was they did to us, but it’s not a matter of understanding, it’s a matter of forgiving. Yet forgiving is often difficult; it doesn’t come naturally. That’s why the Lord says we need His help to do it. We get the love and grace to forgive from Him.
Bad things happen to everyone. It’s how we handle troubles, problems, hurts, and disappointments that counts. When we allow ourselves to become resentful over things that hurt us, resentfulness will lead to bitterness. And bitterness, if it is allowed to follow its course, will make us weaker and weaker in spirit. With time, the heart and mind will be more receptive to other negative thoughts about other situations and other people. Bitterness is like a plow that prepares the heart for the seeds of dissatisfaction and discouragement. If you don’t let it all go and give it to the Lord, it will eventually destroy you and probably do a lot of damage to others in the process.
When you have bitterness or resentment in your heart, you often don’t see things clearly. Even special little things, little rewards of the Lord’s love, don’t mean as much because bitterness blinds you to the good. But once you give that to the Lord, you can see things better and feel and experience the Lord’s love a lot more.
Nothing can change the fact that those bad things happened, but the effect that they have on you today can be changed. They can be buried, they can be left behind, they can be shed, and victory can come out of them. Good can come of it, and you can find freedom in letting those things go. It’s not as though that hurt or pain never happened, but the Lord is able to take those circumstances–as dark, sad, hurtful, painful, or unjust as they may have been–and turn them into something beautiful in your life.
When you truly give it all to the Lord, then He’s able to pour the elixir of His love, with all its healing power, into your heart in full measure. He can soothe, He can mend, He can heal any hurt, any pain, any past, and He will. All that He asks is that you let go.
It’s also good to remind yourself that you also need forgiveness. Jesus said that if we forgive those who have wronged us, our Father in Heaven would also forgive us (Mark 11:25-26). When you realize that you have also made mistakes or wrong decisions that have hurt others and that you also need a lot of forgiveness and mercy, it helps you to extend forgiveness and mercy to others.
And of course once you’ve given it all to the Lord, you need to keep giving it to Him. Once you have forgiven and forgotten, you need to carefully guard your spirit and fight critical thoughts that could lead to future resentment and bitterness. You must learn to resist the temptation to dwell on hurts and think bad thoughts about people who wrong you. This negative, critical attitude will eat away at you. It will make you unhappy, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, discontented, and bitter.
Keep coming to the Lord and loving Him and committing all to Him, and He will never fail you. Even if people fail or situations fail or you feel like you’ve failed, the Lord never fails! His plan never fails, His love never fails, and He has His hand on your life. If you can believe and act on that, you’ll be a lot happier.
Forgive, forget, forsake bitterness, and move forward. As you do, He will fill you with His Spirit; He will give you a loving, tender, compassionate, giving heart; He will make you a stronger, better person; and He will be able to use you as a vessel of His love and a pillar that others can lean on. In other words, He will make you more like Him!