Pain, Love and Forgiveness
My last blog post Everyone was a Baby Once dealt with the topic of forgiveness. Today’s post will deal with forgiveness also. In my own experience, sometimes forgiveness comes easily and at other times it’s more of a process. Sometimes forgiveness is a daily choice you make and confess with your lips and the feelings don’t catch up till later. Lately, God has me in a process of deep healing and forgiveness. God has been dealing with me about things that I didn’t even know I dealt with or had to forgive! He is such a good daddy and He is faithful to pull back layer upon layer until we get to the root of those things that have brought brokenness and pain into our lives.
One day I was driving home and my mind wandered to thoughts of an individual who had really hurt me and shattered my trust. Although I had already forgiven this person, old broken feelings of anger and resentment started rising to my consciousness. The thing I found so painful about this particular situation is that I had tirelessly poured my prayers and my love into this person, often putting myself and my own needs on the back burner, only to be betrayed and abandoned at a time when I really needed love and support. At times, my mind would revisit the question of how could they do that to me? Or how do they sleep at night?!?!?
As I was stewing on this throughout my drive, I found myself in back of an 18 wheeler truck. In the bottom right-hand corner of the truck were the numbers 535. God speaks to me in a variety of ways, including through numbers, and I wondered if God could be speaking to me. The first thing that came to my mind was Isaiah 53:5, “But He was pierced for our rebellion crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Not really sensing a connection, I decided that this was not an instance of God speaking…until I noticed what was written on the bottom left-hand corner of the truck. Spelled out in big black letters, clear as day, it read “Isaiah 53:5.” Random. God had my attention.
Later that day, I read through the entirety of Isaiah 53. Within that chapter I read words like, “We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried.” “We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.” The message God was speaking to my heart was clear. The Lord knows what it is to lay down His life for those that choose to walk away. He knows the heartache of watching someone choose a path that leads to damage and destruction. However, even in the midst of betrayal, broken trust and pain, Jesus still chooses love. He chose to love me, even when I didn’t choose Him and He asks me to make love my constant choice, no matter how painful that love can be at times.
In the book The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness by Kris and Jason Vallotton, Jason describes his own process of forgiveness after he dealt with the reality of his wife having an affair that led her to walk away from her husband and children. He talks about all of the feelings of anger and resentment he dealt with. As he was processing all of these emotions, God led him to the same passage of scripture, Isaiah 53. Wow. Through scripture, God revealed to Jason that there is no justice for brokenness until people accept the gift of wholeness that Jesus paid to give them. From there, despite all the hurt and pain, Jason was able to desire and earnestly pray for healing and wholeness for his wife who walked away.
Choosing love will hurt sometimes. Choosing love when we could choose to be numb, when we could choose not to feel, when we could choose to barricade our hearts, will require us to sacrifice our comfort and to feel pain. But the idea of this draws me to Hebrews 12:2, “For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy set before Him was us. When we choose love in the midst of difficulty, we become more like our Savior. When we choose to endure our cross of love in the face of betrayal, we can know that there is joy up ahead. We can know that with the crucifixion of our pride, our selfishness and our anger comes a resurrection of life, hope and promises. Joy is set before you. Keep choosing love.