By Anne Peterson, Crosswalk.com
God Will Never Unfriend Us
By Anne Peterson
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” - John 15:13
I remember the day he hurt me. I could tell you every detail. Do you know what this shows? It shows I still had some forgiving to do.
Hurting people hurt people.
This was a stretch for me to think about. Because I had come from a physically abusive home, I had not learned this yet. All I thought about was what I was going through. But as an adult, I understand that statement. When someone hurts us, we could make many choices.
- zap the person right back.
- hand the situation over to God
- forgive the person who hurt us.
Getting to number 3 and number 4, could take time. I don’t believe forgiveness is possible apart from the Lord. Not if it’s genuine.
God understands our hurts.
When Jesus came to earth, he was not welcomed by all. At the end of his ministry, one week he was welcomed into a city, with everyone laying palm branches down for his entry on a donkey. They shouted, “Hosanna! Glory to God in the highest.” They honored him.
The following week they shouted, “Crucify him!!”
Jesus was spit upon, slapped, his beard was ripped out, he was beaten, and they nailed him to a tree. Why? He claimed to be God.
Jesus is God. But even though Jesus is God, when he died on that cross, he was fully man. He felt every ounce of pain. Including one we’ll never feel.
God forsook Jesus when he bore our sins (Matthew 27:46).
God promises us that He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
People will let us down.
God tells us we should not trust in princes (Psalm 146:3). We trust others and expect they won’t hurt us. But sometimes they do. I finally realized others will hurt me, and sometimes it’s unintentionally. I learned this when I hurt someone I love very much.
God will work in His timing.
One thing that has always surprised me in my walk with the Lord, is that God doesn’t need my help. It’s the Holy Spirit who convicts people, it’s not our job. Sometimes, instead of waiting for God to work, we run ahead of him. God tells us to keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). When my husband was in the military and marched in formation, he was told to look at the soldier to the left and right of him, to keep in step with them. Sometimes I try to run ahead of God, and other times, I have gotten behind him and tried to push him to go faster. It doesn’t work.
It’s not up to us to hurry God’s work. But we can pray. Prayer softens hearts. Not only the hearts of those who hurt, but our hearts as well. God needs to keep our hearts soft, or bitterness will harden them. This happens when we replay our offenses over and over in our minds. I have done this. I know my hurts by heart. It’s like I’ve stored them in little Ziplock bags to keep them fresh.
Give God your hurts.
Giving our hurts to God is not simple. Instead of replaying what happened to me, I hand that hurt, to the Lord. Just like I’m told to cast down imaginations (2 Corinthians 10:5). I picture myself handing my negative thoughts to the Lord, knowing He will hand back to me, the thoughts which are worthy of my time and energy.
There’s also a checklist that the apostle Paul gives us (Philippians 4:8). Are our thoughts pure, true, noble, right, etc.? The one that often stops me is praiseworthy. Many of my thoughts concerning those who have hurt me are not praiseworthy.
Thankfully, I can still work on that area.
Forgiveness is key.
When we forgive others, we will see God working. Not only in us, but also in them. But if we hold onto resentment, things may stay as they are. We are not in charge of how long this process will take. It’s not up to us. But I can say when I do choose to forgive someone, God gives me grace, and that enables me to wait well.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Writing these words today is easier than living them out. Has someone hurt you so deeply you can’t seem to let go of your hurts? Can you even picture yourself forgiving this person? The good news is that the things that are impossible with man are possible with God (Luke 18:27). Jesus said so.
Lord, we thank you that your love is never ending. God, we know that’s true because you loved us when we were yet sinners. And you’ve promised you would never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you, Lord for your love. We pray for anyone reading this devotional. We pray that they would realize how kind and loving you are. And we pray this in your Son’s precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
My Thoughts (‘a poem’)
God, my thoughts keep taking
me where I don’t want to go.
And they turn into worries
long before I even know.
Please help me take
them captive, Lord,
so I can learn to choose,
the thoughts I should be thinking
and the ones I need to lose.
- Anne Peterson © 2021
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.
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