How could he do this to me? Who does he think he is? God, my heart is breaking. Does he even care? He’s not even going to apologize?!
Those are the thoughts that plagued my mind that night. If I’m honest, they still come back at unexpected times. Most people want an apology after they feel they’ve been wronged. It’s what makes us human. If you’re in the same boat as me, welcome to the club. We have cookies. This post may rock your world and cause you to feel slightly uncomfortable. So sit back and get cozy.
Why do you think you need an apology? Seriously. Ask yourself this question — why do I need to hear him/her say they’re sorry? Is it because you believe it’s in their apology that the hurt will go away? If so, please know that the hurt will still remain even after they apologize. The damage has been done. No amount of words they could say would ever heal your broken soul. Do you need the apology because it proves you were right and they were wrong? If so, I believe that’s called pride. It really doesn’t matter whether they apologize or not. It doesn’t matter if you were right and they were wrong. What’s been done has been done and nothing will change that fact.
Trust me, I’m currently in this boat with you.
For those that are Bible-savvy, you know the verse in Matthew that talks about forgiving seventy times seven times: “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” – Matthew 18:21-22
But the verse I want to focus on is not in Matthew, instead, it’s in Ephesians. I think we all understand that Jesus wants us to forgive people, but what exactly does forgiveness look like?
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
But he hurt me… But she made up lies about me… But I was treated unjustly… But He was brutally beaten. But He was lied about. But He was treated unjustly. For me. For you. Yet, He still forgives. Remember, Jesus didn’t really have to do any of that for us, yet He chose to forgive us.
I know it’s much easier said than done to talk about forgiveness. I know it’s painful to think about the hurt that person caused you. I started seeing a therapist (partly) because of the hurt I referred to in the beginning of this post. Sometimes we need another person’s perspective to help us through painful seasons. Let me be the first to tell you it’s OK. You’re not crazy. Unfortunately, this is a part of life. If you feel like you need to seek counsel from an unbiased individual, find someone. Get help, especially if the hurt is causing you to act negatively.
I want to share some insight that my therapist shared with me in regards to forgiveness.
We cannot forgive a person of their sins. Only God can do that. Yet, Jesus tells us to forgive others. Why? How can we do that? We have to trust that God will handle the other person’s sin, but we are called to forgive the individual of the hurt their sin caused us. We can choose to hold on to the hurt or let it go. If you want to hold on to it, then let it fester in you. Think about that hurt and dwell on it. But, if you’re like me, you want to be done with it. You don’t want to think about the hurt anymore. You don’t want to be angry and bitter. So, how do you actually live out Ephesians 4 when it comes to forgiving your offender?
Pray. Pray for that person. It’s easier said than done, I get it. Why should you pray for someone that caused such pain against you? Even more than that, why should you pray for someone that doesn’t want to give you an apology or think they were wrong?
Even though I’m currently in a season of hurt and forgiveness, I’ve been in this season in the past. The only way I was able to move on from the hurt was to pray for the person that hurt me. I may never receive an apology for the current hurt I’m facing. I have to be OK with that fact; otherwise, the craving for an apology is going to eat me alive. I’m the kind of person that desires closure and bows tied up on everything that happens in life. If there’s anything I’m learning in this season, it’s that closure is not a necessity of life. Closure frequently doesn’t happen. I’ve been clinging to the idea that an apology will bring me closure, but really, only Jesus will bring closure.
I need Jesus to intervene in my life and I need Jesus to intervene in the individual that hurt me. My prayer in this season has consisted of lots of raw honesty with the Lord and lots of rebuking Satan. While I’m not belittling the hurt that you’re experiencing, try to look at the hurt from a different perspective. While I am dealing with forgiving this person, I’m also living with the understanding that we live in a fallen world. The enemy wants us to hurt each other and he wants us to be isolated. Because I hate the devil so much, I refuse to let him win in this situation.
I pray blessings over this person. I speak life to him. I thank God for the opportunity to have known this person. I ask God to pour out His supernatural, miracle-working stuff on this person.
The enemy wants to divide people through offenses and hurts. Let’s be stronger than that. Let’s forgive people of the hurts – even if they never apologize – and laugh at the devil for thinking he won. Because, guess what? We know Who wins in the end.