We have all experienced it…..at least once in our lives. We have all faced situations where there has been misunderstanding, hurtful indictments, poor communication, and decisions made that we may not have agreed with. These experiences can be within our families, in the workplace, in our churches, or in our community involvements. But I think I can safely say that we all get to walk through that experience at least once!
The real challenge comes when we try to navigate these situations that cause us to feel offended, hurt, misrepresented, and misunderstood. Most often our first response is to want to “be right”, to defend ourselves, and to let the walls start to build between ourselves and those we feel have treated us unfairly.
In the early years when my husband was a young pastor, we experienced hurtful situations that caused us to feel disrespected and offended numerous times. We were young and truly didn’t anticipate these kinds of relational challenges. We could feel resentments causing us to change from positive, caring people to reactive, offendable people and that’s not who we wanted to be.
Over the years we have had to learn to let the outcome of these situations go . As we have chosen to PARDON those with whom we have felt disrespected and indicted, even when the offenders have not acknowledged any wrong-doing, even when we haven’t been able to justify ourselves ~ We have been able to move on and flourish! We’ve had to start with the choice to forgive; the feelings have followed over time.
Another choice we have to make is to pardon ourselves for the part we have played in the conflict. We are never 100% right so there is always something that we have contributed to make the situation more challenging. If we can own our part, learn from it, and forgive ourselves we can move on in an emotionally healthy way.
Here’s an interesting paraphrase from John 12:24 ” Let your expectations go. You took a loss. You’ve complained and grieved. To hold onto it any longer is counter-productive. It’s time to let it go or you will remain stuck. When you let it go you will get your life back and you will prosper.”
Have you walked through situations that have left you wounded? Have you let your emotions remain intrenched in your hurt? Is it time to get free? Is it time to pardon both offender(s) and yourself? Don’t let offenses change you into a version of yourself that even you don’t like. You be the hero and hand out the first pardon today.
“…and forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.” (Lord’s Prayer)