Love & Forgiveness Past Pain

June 21, 2024

By: Jennifer Clements
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44

I recently ventured home to take care of some family estate matters and, unfortunately, I was preparing for a bit of a battle between nine siblings. They’re in conflict over a family property, and some unresolved past conflict and flawed communication skills only escalate every issue. It grieves my heart because at one point in my life, we were a big happy family and now these once close siblings are filled with bitterness, rage, and anger. Why is it so hard to get back to loving each other? Especially in this family that was so filled with faith. Everyone claims the favor of their Father in heaven, everyone claims to have faith, and yet no one has chosen to forgive. What happened to the love that was so evident in the past?

We must remember that love and forgiveness are not feelings, sentiments, or emotions. They are not based on how we feel about someone, or how they make us feel. Love and forgiveness are not conditional, dependent, or selective. We neither give, nor withhold, based on our preferences, moods, or circumstances. They are not something we earn, deserve, or demand. Love and forgiveness are choices, commitments, and most importantly, they are God given commandments. We obey these commandments to follow the example of Jesus, who loved us first, unconditionally, and forgives us freely. Love is the greatest commandment and the fulfillment of the law. Forgiveness is the greatest gift and essential to our peace with God and others. Both love and forgiveness are evidence of our faith.

Have you ever been hurt by someone you love? Maybe they betrayed you, lied to you, abused you, or rejected you. Maybe they hurt you in ways that you can’t even describe. How did you feel? Angry, bitter, resentful, or vengeful? Did you want to cut them off, get back at them, or make them pay? If you have ever felt this way, you are not alone. Many of us struggle with forgiving and loving those who hurt us.

  • Pray for them. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Praying for those who hurt us is not only a way of obeying God, but also a way of changing our hearts. When we pray for them, we see them as God sees them, as people who need His grace and mercy. When we pray for them, we also invite God to work in their lives, to convict them of their sins, to heal their wounds, and to transform their hearts.
  • Bless them. Paul said, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14). Blessing those who hurt us is not only a way of obeying God, but also a way of overcoming evil. When we bless them, we do not repay evil for evil, but we overcome evil with good. When we bless them, we also show them the love of God, who blesses us even when we don’t deserve it. When we bless them, we also open the door for reconciliation, for God to restore the broken relationship.
  • Forgive them. Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Forgiving those who hurt us is not only a way of obeying God, but also a way of receiving forgiveness. When we forgive them, we do not condemn them, but we set them free. When we forgive them, we also set ourselves free from the bitterness, resentment, and anger that can poison our souls. When we forgive them, we also receive God’s forgiveness, for He forgives us as we forgive others.

These are not easy steps, but they are possible, with the help of God. God is the source of love and forgiveness and He can empower us to love and forgive those who hurt us. He can also heal our hurts and restore our joy.

I heard a pastor say this past weekend, “I can’t make it to heaven without loving you, and you cannot make it to heaven without loving me,” so I suppose we’d better learn to love our enemies better and forgive those who hurt us quickly.

Stay Up to Date

To stay up to date and receive the latest blog posts, click the button below to subscribe.

Work Entry

Blog Archives

Fill in the Blanks

July 13, 2024

By: Rachael Starrett

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

Have you ever played Mad Libs? You fill in...

Peace in the Waiting

July 8, 2024

By: Lisa Easterling 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,...

Designer Original

June 28, 2024

By: Rolanda Beacham

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things he planned for us...

Look at the Birds

June 16, 2024

By: Dawn Santos

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father...