People can really hurt us. Even worse, they can really hurt our kids. Sometimes they even think they're doing us a favor or somehow doing the "right thing," but they go about it the wrong way.
Years ago our family experienced that kind of hurt - the deep hurt that leaves permanent emotional scars. We were serving a missionaries in South America in a middle-class church planting situation. Our philosophy about many things was pretty different from that of our teammates. They honestly didn't think my work with breastfeeding mothers would open any doors for us, but they were so wrong! It opened doors for me to travel all over the country. Then they didn't like it when we invited a young Peruvian seminary student to live in the tiny room on our roof. The final straw happened when we took our daughter out of the missionary kids' school and put her in a top-notch Peruvian-British girl's school where she would be able to get an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma.
|From Life According to Steph|
I told myself that I had forgiven them, but for years every time I thought about our team members, I felt my pulse quicken and the adrenaline of my "fight or flight" response kicked in. I certainly never thought about wishing them well in their current ministries.
Until last week. I am in Acts in my devotions, and I began to realize that we have to go beyond forgiveness to the point of truly embracing those who have hurt us and wishing them well. This is exactly what some of the believers, especially Barnabas, did with Paul, the man who had actually carried off many of their number to be imprisoned and even encouraged the stoning of Stephen! Talk about having a reason to hate and fear somebody - but Barnabas was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and reached out to Paul.
Push through the wall and go beyond forgiveness to the point of Blessing! You have Nothing to lose!
That is so painful and so hard to do. Yet I found myself praying for our former teammates to be blessed abundantly in their current ministry situation. I truly long for God's blessings on their teaching and preaching, and pray for a rich harvest there. I honestly hope that those on our team who have retired are experiencing God's riches blessings in their retirement.
How freeing it is to think this way! Holding on to our hurt is really just unforgiveness. This leads to crippling bitterness which destroys a person from the inside out. Nobody likes being around a bitter person. The truth is that the ones who wounded you may not even know you are still languishing in hurt. And even if they do, it certainly isn't affecting them like it affects you! So it is completely worth the effort to push through the wall and go beyond forgiveness to the point of blessing. You have absolutely nothing to lose except your hurt!