“Do you think there are wounds that don’t heal in this life?” The women seated in the circle nodded at their friend’s question and looked to me. I had spoken on forgiveness, and the group wanted to discuss it.
“Yes,” I said. “Do you remember Frodo in Lord of the Rings? The pain of his wound made him willing to sail off with the elves and leave this life.”
Some of the hobbits came home from war and entertained their countrymen with their tales of battle. But for Frodo, the real war hero, war stories were painful—not amusing.
Forgiveness isn’t a panacea for all pain. Forgiveness frees us from bitterness so our hearts won’t become hard, but they may still hurt.
Real people, godly people, also continue to suffer from some wounds. Paul wanted to go and be with the Lord, but he knew his life here benefited Christ’s followers. He wore his scars as a badge of honor (2 Cor. 11:21-30, Gal. 5:17). Joseph wept when years after being reconciled with his brothers, they still felt uneasy around him (Gen. 50:17).
I believe God uses our deep wounds to draw us closer to Him. They create a secret place to fellowship with Christ’s sufferings. They don’t master us, but under the right circumstance, like an old physical injury, they ache. They remind us that some losses won’t be fully satisfied until heaven. We aren’t home yet.
You haven’t done something wrong if some old injuries bother you at times. Broken relationships with people we love hurt. We long for restoration.
One day the lion and the lamb will lie down together. We’ll be fully at peace with those we love when Christ sets up His kingdom. Until then, keep your heart clean by practicing forgiveness. A clean wound is better than one infected with gangrene. But even a clean wound can still hurt.
To finish our series on forgiveness let’s recap. The word FREEDOM helps us remember the benefits, barriers, and maintenance of forgiveness.
- Forgive For your sake and the sake of those you love.
- Be Real about what happened.
- Forgiveness can get Emotional.
- It’s Expensive to forgive, but it costs more not to forgive.
- Decide to forgive, to let go, and to trust God to turn the awful into the awesome.
- Deep wounds must be forgiven Over and over again. Keep your wound clean.
- Manage yourself to maintain your freedom.
A surprising by-product of forgiveness is humility. We lose the need to defend ourselves or appear righteous in others’ eyes. We are accepted by God’s grace and through that grace we let go of our bitterness. Forgiveness turns us from victims into victors. Don’t let residual pain rob you of the joy of what your forgiveness gained.
Click here to enjoy Matthew West’s beautiful song on forgiveness.
Click here for Part 11 on forgiveness.
Question: What facet of forgiveness is most overlooked? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Deborah W. Wilson