Sometimes we are hurt or betrayed in ways that seem unforgivable to us. We might experience moments when we wish we could forgive, but the obstacles are way too big and we don’t get very far in letting go. We might even feel justified in hating certain people because they deserve to be hated. And there is a part of our heart that has no interest at all in letting go of our resentment; a part we cannot seem to change.
So what to do? How do we heal without denying what we feel? Why would we even want to?
Over the years, I’ve wrestled with this more than once. Sometimes well, sometimes not. Betrayal comes more often than we wish; and it goes far deeper than we sometimes realize.
In some cases, I have found that if I ask God to show me how He sees that other person, it can change my heart toward them. And then I can move forward in getting the healing I need and letting go of my hatred. But there are those special cases where I honestly don’t want to know how God sees them, and frankly don’t feel like it matters to me one way or the other.
Then there were a couple of times when I was motivated to seek healing simply because holding on to my hate and resentment was so toxic to my soul that I needed relief. And while the healing process had to address a lot more than my own toxic rehearsals of the wrongs done to me, my awareness of the cost to me was at least enough to get me started on the path toward restoration.
But what if the old wounds will just not let go. I have one of these as well. After months of laying low, this thing seems to resurface on its own … reminding me of how awful it really was and how much I was damaged by this person’s multiple betrayals. And none of the prior approaches to resolving this seem to help very much. So I finally asked God where we could go with this; confessing at the same time that part of me wanted to hold on to the worst of my thoughts toward this awful person, and how I did not care at all how God saw them.
What came to me then was this one simple thought: That to whatever extent I am engaged in hatred or contempt of another person, I am working against the Kingdom, fighting on the wrong side of this war we are all involved in. That, my friend, was enough to wake me up and get my attention; because one of my greatest passions is to fight against the evil that is killing our souls (despite my faltering efforts). With this as my incentive, I was finally able to earnestly and honestly ask God to do a work in me and to begin healing and restoring that part of me that is so willing to hate those who hate me. It got me started again down the path I need to go.
The best reason not to hate, is because I don’t want to ever be found fighting on the wrong side of this war. It matters too much.