Now if anyone has caused pain, . . . you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 2 Corinthians 2:5,7-8
Paul knew of where he spoke. When first confronted with the followers of Jesus, he persecuted and stoned them. Paul inflicted a great deal of pain until he was converted on that dusty road into Damascus. Christ forgave him and because of that, Paul became so very instrumental in not only the spread of the Truth, but in writing it down for those he met on up through the centuries to us today. Martin Luther was converted over a thousand years later after reading Paul’s letter to the Romans. And he was just one of countless millions who have found Christ through Paul’s letters.
It all started with an act of love and forgiveness after a deep painful act. The same act Christ died for, that he prayed as one of his final words, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus taught us to pray that God should forgive us as we forgive those who trespass (cause pain) against us. Yes, Paul spoke Truth. Still, it’s the hardest thing in the world to do, isn’t it? Especially when that person who pains you never says they are sorry, but keeps right on paining.
Most likely the people who have caused you the most pain, unless you or a loved one has been the victim of random violence, is someone you have an emotional attachment to, otherwise the pain wouldn’t be so deep. It could be a friend who turned on you, a spouse who puts you down all the time and yells at you, a child who has turned away from your love, a parent who has rejected you because you do not see eye to eye. Joyce Meyer is famous for saying, “Hurting people hurt people.” She is one who knows, having been abused by her father. Yet her forgiveness of his atrocities eventually not only led him to Christ, but removed the thorn in her side that was preventing her ministry to millions from flourishing.
I have a hard time forgiving, especially when the other person keeps on doing me wrong. But I realize if I turn to lick my own wounds, they fester because I am concentrating on poor little me and my pain. That gives the other person permission to keep on hurting me. But if I give that all to Christ, He heals me each time a new wound appears.
If anyone understands how humans can pain each other, it is our Lord and Savior. For me, I have to keep trusting and trying to turn the pains over to Him each time the arrows sling in my direction. Only then can I begin to try and forgive, again . . . because Christ keeps forgiving me. Though my heart is broken, Christ’s love for me spills out into love for the other person, because after all, they are in pain as well and deep down know not what they are doing.