Forgiveness and Compassion for our Enemies

Mat_6:12 forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

Col_3:12 You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

For me forgiveness and compassion for the perpetrator of wrong doing is the most difficult task.  I find that some family members inflict the most hurtful injuries.  Maybe my woundedness is coupled with a deep shock that they are the ones from whom I most expect understanding and kindness.  I have found however, this mercy is sometimes lacking in some.

This morning during prayer time I recalled when my husband brought his girlfriend home to live in our house and… I had no idea this deep betrayal was taking place.  The resulting rage, sorrow, disbelief, and shock threatened to overwhelm me.  I was feeling very un-Christian at the time and thoughts of forgiveness did not even enter my mind, in fact I remember clearly having thoughts of hatred and revenge.  What saved me was I forced myself to pray for him because these thoughts of vengeance were so deep I knew they would poison me.  I turned to God and prayer in desperation and hope for my future.

I started praying daily asking God to remove the bitterness from my heart.  As time went on I started asking God that he forgive my husband for this final crime of treachery.  Then my prayers evolved into the urge to ask God to bless my husband and bring him joy and heal his wounds… this was the most difficult, but I persisted.  To my astonishment, one day the sudden realization of what I had done to contribute to the downfall of the marriage came into my memory.  Suddenly, I felt a deep compassion for my husband and all the hurt, resentment and hate left me.  Forgiveness was complete… I no longer had the poison inside of me.  

None of this condones the manner which he decided to deal with his own hurt and disappointment in the marriage.  But, most importantly, my destructive feelings of anger were completely gone.  I believe the entire process took about one year of daily prayer.  In fact, prayer was my lifeline to sanity as sometimes the blackness of my resentment was frightening.

For me, forgiveness would not come until I was able to feel true compassion for the perpetrator.  I know other issues in his personality dictate that I need to keep a safe distance from his destructive personality but, all the hate and poison in me was completely removed by my Savior.

Dear Abba,

Thank You for giving us a way out of destructive emotions.  I know the process of forgiveness may reveal themselves in different steps or forms for others.  Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to guide all of us in our specific path of prayer so we may be closer to our Savior.


~ by Andrea T on October 27, 2012.

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