This is a continuation from the previous post: in order to move forward in life, we need to let go of the past.
We discussed forgiving others and forgiving ourselves, which are key components to making forward progress. However, there are circumstances that may work against this happening. The enemy of our souls does not want us to advance. People that we have hurt in the past may have a difficult time forgiving and forgetting.
Sometimes, after we’ve forgotten the past and have begun to make forward movement, we realize that someone we have hurt in the past (that “forgotten” past) will not forgive or forget! They not only won’t forgive and forget, they have decided not to be in relationship with us. If this is a casual friend or a business acquaintance, we can usually manage to accept their decision.
But what if that person is a close friend—or even more painful—a relative whom we love very much? The devil delights in stirring up more trouble and strife by reminding people about the hurts that they have experienced in life. He can be so successful, at times, that he influences a person to break off a relationship with a person whom they love and who loves them—all due to past history in the relationship.
Let me first state that if there is any small chance of a repeat of the injury, then the previously injured person would be justified in ending that relationship. But when one party is genuinely sorry for what has occurred in the past, and is prepared to resume the relationship with due caution and consideration for the feelings of the other one, then I believe that there is true hope for a good outcome. In a situation like this, what do you do when your loved one has determined that your relationship is over? What do you do when they will not see you or speak with you?
The first step is to recognize that they have the right to make such a choice. Yes, it hurts tremendously. But realize that they are merely protecting their spiritual, mental, and emotional health. That’s good and healthy.
Next, pray for the entire situation and for everyone involved in it. If it’s a family member or a church member, other people are also adversely affected by it. Don’t try to enlist people onto “your side.” That’s extremely destructive and counterproductive.
Instead, cry out to the Lord in prayer. Pray for the person whom you injured—whether intentionally or unintentionally injured. Ask God to bless that person and to heal their hearts, minds, and memories. Ask Jesus to give that person the grace and the desire to forgive you. Pray consistently and persistently for that person, and allow the Lord to cause your love for them to grow and to mature. Be patient. Bathe the entire situation in prayer. Be patient.
The Lord is our Mediator.1 He is our Peacemaker2; and our Reconciler3. The Bible reminds us that the Lord has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.4 It makes sense, then, that He would want us to be reconciled to one another.
Since the Lord wants us to be at peace with all men, we are instructed to LIVE PEACEABLY with all!5 This means that we should not speak evil about anyone, and we should be gentle and humble in dealing with others in any capacity.6
Put your faith in God and in His Word; be patient and trust God to bring about reconciliation in His timing and in His way. He says that the ones who trust in Him will not be ashamed or humiliated.7 Place all of your focus and all of your efforts into loving God and serving Him.
Rejoice in the love that Jesus has for you, and that your name is written in glory! Let God take care of the rest.
- 1 Timothy 2:5
- Romans 5:1
- Romans 5:10
- 2 Corinthians 5:18
- Romans 12:18
- Titus 3:2
- Psalms 22:5; 34:5; 119:6; 2 Timothy 1:12