Rejection and Forgiveness Part II
By Tracie Miles
1 Kings , “And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy.” (NIV)
Yesterday’s devotion focused on how much rejection hurts, offered three truths for handling rejection, and provided some practical steps for being able to forgive those who have hurt us. It reminded us of our position in Christ and that we should not strive for the approval of man, but only the approval of God. The only problem is that is a lot easier said than done!
I want to give you a few more motivating factors to forgive those who have hurt you. The New Zealand Medical Journal published a letter from a clinician who did an analysis of 200 case histories showing that 60% of chronic pain patients exhibit a strong element of a failure to forgive. We tend to think of unforgiveness as an emotional issue, and not a health or medical issue. But it is critically important to realize that unforgiveness is a toxic emotion; it is like taking a deadly poison and expecting your enemy to die instead of you.
On the bright side, the benefits of forgiveness are endless. From an emotional perspective, forgiving others decreases anger, depression, and anxiety; it increases self esteem, self-control and our emotional stability; it strengthens relationships; and promotes peace. From a health perspective, the benefits of forgiveness include lowered blood pressure, improved immune systems, improved sleep, reduced stress, increased energy, improved sense of empowerment, reduced dysfunctional patterns of behavior, and an increased peace of mind.
Those people who have hurt us, rejected us, or made us feel unworthy may not deserve our forgiveness, but a key to possessing the ability to forgive is understanding that forgiveness is for us. When we truly forgive our debtors, our heart is filled with a peace that we never thought possible and our relationship with Christ can flourish and grow as we love and shower Him with our gratitude.
Living in a state of unforgiveness not only damages our emotional and physical health, but it also damages our spiritual-health—our relationship with Christ. Our spirits can either be filled with love, forgiveness, and peace; or with hatred and desires for vengeance against those who have hurt us. Although God will never forsake us and nothing we do can separate us from the love of God, our hearts can be overtaken with weeds of the enemy. We need to tend our “heart garden” with the love of Christ. Whichever spirit we fertilize the most is the spirit that will grow, controlling our minds and our actions.
We need to live for today, walking with God, finding joy in the little things, learning to laugh at our mistakes, being appreciative of the gifts God has given us, burying resentments, and most of all TRUSTING GOD. Trust that God has the power to help you forgive those who have hurt you. Trust that God will reward you for your faithfulness. Trust that God may want to use you to teach other people how to forgive, and that your forgiveness may be the key that unlocks the door for a non-believer’s eyes to see the Lord.
Dear Lord, help me know that with Your infused strength in me, I can forgive those who have hurt me. Please cleanse me of any desire for revenge, or any feelings of anger that I hold in my heart. Please fill my heart with Your peace and love and help me remember how precious I am in Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Six Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Glynnis Whitwer and Brian T. Anderson
In your journal, write down the names of people you may need to forgive. Pray for God to help you forgive the people who have hurt you.
Ask your family or friends if there is anything that you have unknowingly done that hurt them, and ask them for their forgiveness.
Is there anyone in my past or present that I need to forgive?
Do I harbor thoughts of revenge against someone who hurt me; should I pray for God to free my mind of unloving thoughts?
Do I need to ask God to help me with my feelings of rejection and pain, so that I can be free of the power that unforgiveness has on my heart?
Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)
1 Peter 3:8-9, “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Tuesday, 06 March 2007.