Thursday, 21 August 2014

Moving On

One of the barriers to forgiveness is memory. It’s in Satan’s best interests to keep us in a state of unforgiveness. As long as we continue to remember all the details of the hurt, we are rendered ineffective in our Christian walk in the here and now. Around and around we go in our minds, reliving the hurt, imagining what we should have said and didn’t, or what we could have done differently and didn’t. What could have been done and should have been done wasn’t done. If we just go over it all in our minds one more time, we, the injured party, at least validate our own experience.
Abuse never happens in isolation. It occurs in a climate of secrecy, of indifference, or lack of communication, or ignorance, or cowardice, or alliances. As someone who has had a longstanding interest in bullying behaviour, I know that bullying occurs not only because of the bullying nature of an individual, but also because of the lack of action of those who are aware of the situation and cooperate with the bully for their own reasons or fail to stand against them, giving them free rein to continue. This situation happens in a school playground, and on the world arena between nations and people groups.
Some memories can never be fixed. But, praise God, they can be transformed. Somewhere along the line, in the process of forgiveness, I believe that one can reach the conclusion that all that was done, was done. Nothing more can be gained by going over old ground. That unjust situation may still be unjust. That awful behaviour exhibited by a person or church or organisation may still be continuing, with the likelihood of them repenting and apologising unlikely. But if you can mentally “wrap up” a past incident and pray for those who hurt you, and symbolically offer the whole thing up to God, you will gain what He wants most for you – your freedom.
It’s important to forgive not just those who have hurt, but those who by their collusion or omission, did nothing to help the situation.
Satan would have us think that forgiveness is a very difficult thing- again, he would not like us to move on in faith for all the good things that God has in store. Having forgiven, there is no need to keep repeating the process. It is done. We might remember past events, but there is no need to think that those events control us or make us less than what God would have us be.
The Bible tells us that  “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). God can use past experiences in our lives to make us credible witnesses to others for Him. Whole ministries have developed from terrible experiences because of the depth of understanding and empathy of those who have been through them. God does not waste anything in our lives. He transforms. He comforts. He strengthens and makes us whole.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 1:6)

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