I would love to tell you that I am the expert on forgiveness. But the truth is, I have to ask God daily to renew my heart and my mind and to see past the hurts that others have caused.
A simple phrase keeps my heart and mind in check:
“Hurt people hurt people.”
We need to look beyond the wrong that someone has done to us and see the wrongdoer for more than their actions. They are hurting people (mind, body, and spirit).
Looking beyond doesn’t mean that we approve of their actions. It doesn’t mean that we forget. It doesn’t mean that we accept this as the new “norm.” It doesn’t mean that we dismiss what they have done as if it never happened and continue the relationship.
Looking beyond only means that we view this person as such: a person. A person prone to sin. A person prone to mental illness. A person prone to disease that affects the way they think, feel, and respond to us and the world.
God asks us to look beyond.
Didn’t he do the same for us?
I have acted against the very grain of what God calls me to do. I have hurt others – intentionally and unintentionally – both in words and in actions. Because of me being prone to depression I have allowed it to get the best of me – eating away and my motivation, my ability to cope with sadness and anger – which ultimately affected those around me.
In 1 John 1:9 we see that God is willing – God is ready – to forgive us our sins. If God can forgive me of the horrid things I have done, if he can forgive the Apostle Paul for murdering innocent Christians, if he can forgive Peter for denying His Son three times then why can we not forgive others?
God looks past our human nature, he looks past the pain and the hurt, and connects to our likeness to Him for we are created in His image. We must look past the pain and the hurt that others have caused us and find God within them.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13