Love…keeps no record of wrongs.
For some of us, this is a hard one. We get hurt, then later, we get hurt again. After a time of this, suddenly we erupt one day with a whole list of everything someone has done to offend us over the last decade. Yet, love keeps no record of wrongs. How can we grow past this?
First, Perspective: Romans 13:9 says to “love others as you love yourself”. Do you make mistakes? Do you beat up on yourself for them? Don’t do that. Scientists tell us that in any scientific process, there is a 3% variant due to human error. If people who are trying to do everything perfect are wrong 3% of the time, then we can surmise that we are going to mess things up at least 3% of the time. Don’t beat yourself up. All that does is turn your focus inward and not allow yourself to learn from a situation and grow beyond it. Instead, ask God to forgive you and help you to grow; then, forgive yourself – expecting that you will grow.
In a similar fashion, we can also surmise that other people are going to mess up 3% of the time, and sometimes those mistakes will come our way. So, we love ourselves enough to learn from our mistakes, not letting them become debilitating boulders in our lives. Then, we understand that other people are going to mess up too, and we give them the grace to be able to be learning, growing individuals as well.
When someone hurts us and we don’t deal with it properly, it’s like throwing a moldy towel into the dirty clothes. Within a short while, the entire laundry pile will smell horrible. To deal with things properly, we need to go to the person, and let them know that they have hurt us. We need to review the situation in question, and ask forgiveness for any part that we had. Then, we need to be willing to forgive.
What about repeat offenders? Jesus knows how to deal with these, so let’s ask for his help. First, start praying for the person who is repeatedly hurtful to you. Pray God’s blessing on them. Pray that God will help them to be the person He created them to be. Pray that God will give you wisdom, and help you to be the spouse, parent, friend, that this other person needs in order to become the person God intended them to be. Sometimes this will mean that He will help you set up boundaries.
Second, choose to forgive. Train your mind. When the list of offenses comes to mind:
· Remind yourself that you have chosen to forgive that person
· Refuse to recite the list.
· Choose to think on different things.
Last, be a blessing. Many people act out of their own defensiveness. When they hurt us, they then continue to hurt us because they are reacting to either our anger, or their anticipation of our displeasure. Choose to be a blessing. God can use this. Proverbs 25:21-22 says: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”
Prayer: Lord, help me in my relationships to see others the way that You do. Help me, when I am hurt, to take the offense to You and rely on You to help me deal with it properly. Sometimes I carry around a whole backpack of the wrongs other people have done to me. I lay that at your feet and ask you to heal all those hurts in me and restore those relationships where appropriate. Help me to walk in Your power and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.