We all experience offenses, and are at times faced with the need to forgive others, but what do we do when the wound is deep?
Being wounded is not a sin, but if we don’t address it, it can turn to bitterness (which is sin), even though we say we have verbally forgiven the offender.
Forgiveness in word only usually works when it is something minor, but when we have been cut to the heart, forgiving in word only is often not enough.
I have have found in my nearly 40 years as a Christian that when I either pray for, or do something kind towards the one who hurt me, the offense loses its power in my life. Praying for the one who wronged you, and/or doing something kind for them brings God’s love into the situation, and when you pray for them, or do something kind, God’s love flows through you, bringing healing.
When God saved us he did not forgive us in word only. He did something to demonstrate his love. The resurrected Christ, who died for us, will forever bear the scars of the crucifixion – scars we caused him. Yet those scars are not there to shame us or condemn us. They are there to heal us – by his stripe we are healed.
We are healed because those scars are the evidence of his love for us. There is no such things as the body of Christ without scars. And just as his physical body bears the marks of the crucifixion, even so his spiritual body (the church) is called to bear the marks of true forgiveness towards those who have hurt us.
Praying for the person who hurt you, or doing a kind deed is an “act of forgiveness” and as Christians we are called to be people of forgiveness.
If we forgive in word only it is possible we will continue to carry the hurts from those who wounded us, but when we return the offense with compassion, we experience healing, perspective, and the offense then becomes a life experience from which we grow in wisdom and grace.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18