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Forgiveness and Repentance

Dear brothers and sisters. We received this letter from a person in our ministry team. We were so blessed by this letter that we asked this person if we could share this life changing experience with you all. With their consent, here is Just a Thought for you to read. Be blessed and encouraged!

I've learned over the past few years that things I remember I tend to hold on to. I know...it sounds like a silly thought, but it's not. Not really. I mean, a lot of the things I remember are childhood things. Memories that have haunted me since I was as little as two years old. I had some rather nasty experiences, some of which would be too long to explain, but I'm sure we all have those bad memories of our childhood. Things we remember with such a fierce bitterness that we don't realize what we are walking in until we are old and grey. I'm a thinker. I tend to relive moments and think about how I would react in that situation if I had the knowledge I do today. I've learned to forgive. But it's taken me years and years to learn how to forget and move on. That's where I am now.

How do you forget that someone hurt you when you were a kid? How do you forget that someone said something that affected you so deeply with hurt that it would emotionally cripple you in certain areas of your life? How do you move on from a hurt that has been so deeply engrained in you for so long?

All I can say is that the kids who hurt me in my childhood were kids. They acted out of their own feelings in that circumstance. What does a kid know except to act how they feel? I was a kid too, and I know what it was like. You acted how you felt because that's all you knew. You said what you wanted to because you hadn't learned how to control yourself properly yet. At the same time there were adults who hurt me too. But even though they were adults I couldn't hold that against them. Do you know why? Because someone said something to me that affected how I look at others. Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins. Simple, yes. But think about it. If Christ died for MY sin, didn't he die for OTHER PEOPLE'S sins? And didn't he already pay the price for their sin too? What right do I have to hold something against someone if Christ already paid their price? And if I DO hold on to it, doesn't that mean I'm making Christ's death out to be naught? How big a responsibility is that?!

With this new revelation in focus, I am now endeavoring to put to right all the unforgiveness I've held on to over the years. I'm not looking to rebuild relationships from my past childhood or from old friends. But simply repenting for the judgment I have held towards people who have hurt me. I have to admit - there are a lot of people who have hurt me in my past. But at the same time, those very same people I have hurt far worse in return. I left them with a bitterness and resentment towards them. My bitterness was so strong that there was no hiding it even if I tried. It spilled out of my mouth with every word I spoke to them. Some people were subject to my bitterness even more openly than others. I told them the things that they did to hurt me and I held it over their heads as if to say "you hurt me then, I won't let you forget it". To be quite honest, it wasn't my intent to hold it over them. I just didn't realize I was doing it.

I look back now and see what my words did to people. I called myself a Christian back then. I told them that they were completely wrong in what they did, but I did it in anger and bitterness. My thought was to correct their behavior. My actions said I was condemning them. It's horrible to live with that knowledge. To know that you call yourself a minister, but you have people from your past who still carry your words in a broken heart. I did break people's hearts with my words. Some things I said were so judgmental and so prideful I look on them with disdain. I finally got to a point where the Lord would remind me of the words I had spoken and I couldn't continue to call myself a minister until I righted those wrongs.

Every time I went to the Word I'd find myself reading about forgiveness and repentance. Going to a brother to tell him what he did. Not so that I could hold it over him but so that he would know the affect of his words and actions and so that he wouldn't do it again. Also, so that I could repent for the accusation and judgment I held towards him. After all, the point of it is that we each have the ability to correct someone's behavior so we can prevent them from falling into sin and to reconcile themselves to God. For if you have unforgiveness in your heart, you can only walk with God for so long until you come to a point of breaking. I don't want to reach that point again because it makes you feel so far away from God that you end up thinking you are a hypocrite.

Of course, I can't go to EVERYONE who has hurt me, because quite frankly there are a select few situations that would end up being worse than it was. The object of this is that you use wisdom and common sense in who you go to. I go with no expectations for repentance to me. I go with no intent to hurt them in return, but to point out my own sin towards them. It's been a trying and difficult process. But all the same, it has been a blessing to me and the Lord has opened countless doors as I have been able to repent. Not doors for relationships, but doors for ministry within myself. I hear Him more clearly than I did before. I see without feeling like I have a cloud over my eyes and I KNOW Him like I never did before.

Has it changed me? YES!! With each person I repent to it is not only a freeing experience but a humbling experience. There can never be too much humbleness in a person who has grown up a proud person. I don't feel like I'm in bondage from my past anymore. The best part of it all is that I finally feel right before God. I feel like I can encourage a person to forgive someone without feeling guilt for my own unforgiveness. I can now encourage someone to repent for their sin and not feel the guilt of an unrepentant heart within myself. Finally, after all these years, I am forgiven and I no longer have anything that would cause me to doubt.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this article.

 
Everyone must die sometime.
"...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." Hebrews 9:27

 
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