Click to listen to Nancy answer this question on Moody radio with Kelly and Steve.
Hurt is pandemic and will continue until we leave this world and live with Christ forever in Heaven! Some of the pain and suffering we currently, or have previously experienced, leaves us with personal brokenness that can stretch our faith to its breaking point. The world’s way of trying to lessen such pain is to medicate with pills or alcohol, isolate ourselves, act out toward friends and family, or bury it and pretend that whatever it is, we can power through with no help from others. None of those options will give us the peace of mind to weather the fallout of the past and present storms of life. The only help we need is found in Christ, Who gives us strength, love, comfort, and wisdom to work through our pain. Without Christ, there is no hope.
“God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1).
“I lift my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. The Lord will keep me from all harm. He will watch over my life; the Lord will watch over my coming and going both now and always” (Psalm 121:1,2,7,8).
Jesus wants us to come to Him. He understands our pain and how it feels to be betrayed! He knows more about pain and suffering than anyone who has ever lived on this earth. Jesus was willfully tortured and hung on a cross to pay the penalty for all humankind’s past, present, and future sins. He understands the pain of rejection; His own friends betrayed him. Yet, instead of giving up on us, He forgave us. God’s grace motivated Him to save sinners, like us, from the penalty of our sin which is eternal death. Instead, for those who believe in Christ as Savior, our future is to live forever with God in Heaven, where there is no death, pain or suffering!
Christ did not go through the depth of suffering to make us feel good, to keep people from hurting us, or to keep us from being persecuted. He died to save our sinful souls and free us up to be His hands and feet by loving and bringing Him glory as we love and serve others.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16–18).
Not only does God choose to forgive our sins, but He also chooses, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to live in all believers and give us the power to forgive those who have sinned against us. Now that we are equipped with the Holy Spirit, God commands us to do what is seemingly impossible: to forgive others, no matter what the offense, and no longer hold our offenders accountable for whatever they have done. God commands this so we no longer have to deal mentally, emotionally and spiritually with the pain and suffering of what others have done to us. When we lay our pain and suffering, along with those who caused it, at the feet of Jesus, He will give us the desire to forgive and pray for the healing and salvation of our perpetrators. We are free from having to be mentally and emotionally haunted by their actions. Jesus, not us, will avenge those who have caused pain and suffering.
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Romans 12:17-19).
With the power of God in us, no longer will our feelings control our actions. Through the Holy Spirit, we will be motivated to extend grace and forgiveness for our past, present and future suffering. Forgiving others is difficult, mainly because of our sinful nature, which seems to enjoy wallowing in what others have done to us. In an unhealthy way, our sinful nature can make us feel good to withhold forgiveness because our flesh tells us we are within our right not to forgive. Again and again, we must call on the Holy Spirit, who can rule over our fleshly instincts and guide us to overcome the battle that rages in us.
Satan loathes the idea of forgiveness. Scripture describes Satan as the Enemy, Destroyer, Accuser, Liar, Murderer, Devil, and Evil One, to name a few. Forgiveness contradicts his evil nature; he hates our Lord and the power Jesus gives all believers to live in the Holy Spirit. We have nothing to fear. By God’s grace, we have power over Satan’s evil plans.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this, we know the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of error” (1 John 4:4-6).
God can and does use all things, good and bad, for His glory. Forgiveness extended even when there is no repentance from those who have hurt us, not only honors God but often serves as a window through which others can see God’s mercy. “You may be the only Bible some people ever read.”
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).