I stood looking out over the congregation that had been dismissed moments ago. Many talked in groups, words from their conversations floating across the room. Some sat alone, watching, waiting for the next service.
My job was to stand at the front of the church and pray with anyone who came forward with a prayer request. But I had something on my own heart that weighed heavily on me.
We had a guest speaker that day and his sermon touched my heart. I looked on as the last person who had waited in line to talk with him shook his hand and walked away. He stood alone for a moment, looking around for anyone else before he left.
I took a deep breath and stepped forward.
In that one moment of courage, I blurted out something about another Christian who had wronged me over and over, and how I’d been struggling with it.
His response was, “And she calls herself a Christian.”
I nodded, unable to speak lest I burst into tears. I had not shared my struggle with many, and it was hard to talk about.
His eyes filled with an understanding that I hadn’t expected, “It may look like she’s getting away with it, but she won’t get away with it.”
Then he placed his hand on my shoulder and prayed. I hardly remember his prayer, but I remember his words.
Those words carried me through many years of hurt, encouraging me and helping me when I felt I couldn’t go on anymore. When I couldn’t face the pain, when I wanted to run away and hide from life itself, those words would come back to me.
Sometimes we can be caught in situations where we are wronged by the very people who are supposed to love us and help us through; people we call brothers and sisters in Christ. What a way for the enemy to get his hooks in, to hurt us where we have let our guard down and thought no one would hurt us here.
If you have ever gone through something like this, you know how extra painful it can be. But there is one thing to remember. They won’t get away with it, but neither will we get away with it if we fall into the trap of talking behind their backs, or living in resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness. These are things that will keep us tied to the offense, unable to move forward, living each day looking back at the past instead of moving into the future the Lord has for us.
There is so much power in forgiving those who have sinned against us, in releasing them into the Lord’s hands and letting Him handle it. It can be hard to release and forgive at first, but as we keep doing it, it becomes easier, and then one day, we realize we are free from the offense and we have left it behind us, leaving it for the Lord.
He alone can bear the burden and pick up the pieces we’ve given to Him.
We can trust Him with our hurts. We can trust Him to take care of the wrongs that have been done to us even in His very house. He will not let it go on forever. Forgive, release and move on. Vengeance is His, He will repay (Romans 12:19). They will not get away with it anyways, so let us choose to walk free while He deals with it.
Lord I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, that you would help each one to walk free of offense, to forgive and leave things in your hands. I pray that you would reveal yourself to them in mighty ways and walk with them in healing, restoration and forgiveness. Pick up the pieces of their broken hearts and put them back together Lord, as only you can. In Jesus name, Amen.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you ~ Matthew 6:14