When It’s Hard to Forgive

Written by Jackie Tinkler

The anger that arose every time this person’s name was mentioned was huge. I mean, they have caused me pain and unnecessary loss and I am right to feel this way. There is absolutely no way I can move forward in a relationship with this person and there is no way I’m going to like them anytime soon.

Every chance it came up in conversation, I said something to bring them low, not in a malicious way, but as way to continue to keep my guard up. After all, everyone would agree with me. The hilarious part of this is that I thought God agreed with me too. He saw what was going on and I’m sure God feels the same. This person has hurt me and they deserve it. WRONG!

Are you feeling it too? Someone has hurt you in a BIG way and you can’t let it go because you deserve justice. So, we harden our hearts and tell all they did every chance we have. The walls of bitterness keep us protected and keep the “bad” people away from us because we are not going to give them an inch.

While sitting at my kitchen table one day and talking with a friend, I let it all out. I told her everything I was feeling and I heard myself say these words” I am justified!” The very second I said the words, I realized where my heart had been; I had been walking the road of anger and unforgiveness. I could not believe it! I can’t tell you how justified I felt in my anger. I was blinded to how much I had let it in and how miserable I felt. And even though, what they did or continue to do is not right, I did not have the right to not forgive. In the same second I said I was justified, I said these words too “I guess, I need to give them a break” as my voice broke.

I realized how ugly my thoughts were and how sad it made me to think I was hurting them and God. How can I not forgive, when my Savior Jesus forgave me. How can I not extend grace when he gives me grace every day? Jesus was betrayed too. Jesus was slandered, rejected, overlooked, and at times, not even his family believed in him. So, I say again, How can I not forgive, when he forgave much worse.

I asked God to forgive me at that very second! I was truly broken by the words “I am justified.”

I was set free that day, really free. Now, when this persons name is mentioned I’m filled with a compassion I hadn’t had before. I let my Jesus heal me and take the pain to fill me with his love. I now pray for this person regularly and find ways to bless them. I’m not required to be their best friend, but I am called to love them.

All I can say is Jesus, thank you for giving us a break. You paid it all and loved us extravagantly when we didn’t deserve it.

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Jackie Tinkler is the Co-Founder and Ministry Development Director of Something More and lives in Birmingham, Alabama. She has been ministering to women for 20 years as a Women’s Ministry Director, Counselor and Producer. She is co-writing a Women’s Small Group Study “Something Beautiful” and when not leading women to freedom can be found worshipping at Church of the Highlands, decorating her friends homes, enjoying time with her family and chocolate lab Nelson or sitting in the balcony at the Alabama Theatre.

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