In our Forgiveness Brings FREEDOM series we are spelling freedom. Today we look at R. To forgive we must get Real.
Being honest with ourselves and God about an injury sounds simple. But because truth sometimes hurts, we avoid this and short-circuit our effort to get free. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free,” (John 8:32, NIV). So being real frees us to face our pain, release it, and heal.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NASB) says “Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.”
When we’ve been hurt we need God to search us and share His perspective. Journaling helps me with this. When, like the Psalmist, I honestly express my jumbled thoughts and emotions to God, He addresses them. Below are some areas to consider.
Do I need comfort?
Sometimes I just need God’s comfort. If I minimize my pain I miss this relief. Be honest. “This hurts. This stinks.” Being real opens my heart to receive God’s balm.
Is there a log in my eye?
An injury from the past can make me super sensitive to a present scratch like a pat on the back hurts a sunburn. An injury may be similar to an old wound, but not be the same. If I’m not careful I react to the new scratch as if it were a deep wound. I view the person who hurt me as the former culprit when it could have been an innocent oversight.
When I’m honest, God reminds me of the character of the person who scratched me. I tell myself the truth – this is a good person who loves me. This reminded me of another injury, or my expectations have been unreasonable. They couldn’t read my mind and know my needs.
Viewing a new scratch through old injuries impairs my vision. Being real removes the log.
Have I made one person into a victim to excuse her faults and another into a villain to justify the other person?
We do that to protect the image we’ve created of someone we love and respect. Parent A was abusive while Parent B privately consoled us but never stood up and protected us. When we realize Parent B had the power to shield us but chose to protect themselves, the pain can overwhelm us.
Debbie, you say, I’m feeling worse not better. Hang on. We aren’t through yet. Remember, forgiveness brings freedom to the one who forgives. Facing the whole truth frees and protects us. And being honest about how a parent or person in authority hurt us does not dishonor them. It allows us to clean our wound, be free, heal, and love with God’s love.
We’re not assigning blame. We’re acknowledging our pain so we can let it go.
Forgiveness brings freedom. Start the process by being Real—even when it gets Emotional.
Deborah W. Wilson