Disappointments in life are inevitable. People will disappoint us because they fall short of the expectations we have of them. We’re disappointed because we think that people should be better than they are. But people are not perfect, and neither are you.
If you look around you, there are so many things that will offend you, if you let it. People we love and trust will offend us. Sadly, the ones who hurt us the most, are the people closest to us.
When we carry the hurt and emotional pain inflicted on us by others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we become victims of the vicious cycle of offense, bitterness and unforgiveness.
The Bait of Satan.
Like I said before, it’s so easy to find something that will offend us. The Greek word for “offense” is skandalon, which refers to the part of an animal trap where bait is hung.
So, offense is literally a trap that the enemy uses as a bait to ensnare and entangle us in a web of bitterness, anger and unforgiveness.
We have all been hurt by someone but instead of justifying our pain and hold on to the offense, we can choose to forgive and let it go because it sets us free from the trap of the enemy.
In Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT), the apostle Paul tells us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Freedom in Forgiveness.
“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” ~ Unknown. When we hold on to offenses and people who hurt us, it only hurts us more.
Simmering over something your husband did or said that hurt you, affects the intimacy in your relationship. Festering over how you are hurt by a friend’s actions or words, creates an awkward distance in your friendship.
Unforgiveness not only affects our relationship with others, it also affects our relationship and walk with God.
That’s why Colossians 3:13 (NLT) tells us to “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis Smedes. There is freedom in forgiveness.
Honest about our Hurts.
If you’re struggling to forgive a partner, friend, parent, relative, coworker or someone who hurt you, we can start by being honest about our hurts.
“Simply ask the lord to give you the courage to be honest. Give Him permission to shine His Spirit’s light on your thoughts, feelings, and actions. You may be surprised by the additional pain as you realize the extent of your wounds, but our experience of healing can only be as deep as our awareness of the need for it. This takes the power of God ‘s light. Ask Him to turn on the light.” – Robert McGee, The Search for Significance.
Even when we feel the offense is too great and we’re not capable of forgiving, we can trust that the power and ability to forgive doesn’t come from within us; it comes from God.
It’s helpful to remember that God has modeled forgiveness by forgiving us. He’s not just commanded us to forgive others, he’s lived out what forgiveness looks like. In Luke 23:24, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Beauty from our Broken Places.
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” “God cannot use a man or woman greatly until He wounds them deeply.” – A.W. Tozer
No one enjoys going through painful experiences and circumstances that leave us shattered, deeply hurt and scarred. But if God allows us to go through such pain, then it’s for a purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NLT) says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Dear mom, God will use your pain for His good purpose, to bring beauty out of the broken places and ashes of your life.
Isaiah 61:3 (NLT) says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.”
God will not waste your pain and tears. If you let Him, God will use your story for His glory. He will shine His love into the deep places in ours heart; He wants to bring healing, bind up our wounds and make something beautiful out of the ashes of our broken lives.
Catch up on all our study posts here.
Mom, need some ongoing encouragement?
I’ve created “30 Scriptural Prayers for Moms” as a special gift for you, as well as other spiritual resources.
Susan Egbe-Tanyi, MD is a board-certified family medicine physician. She is also the founder of Empowered Women Faith Club, where she writes to empower women to live confidently knowing who they are as daughters of God and encourages weary moms to find strength in God through the journey of motherhood. She is a wife, mother of three treasured kids, a passionate follower of Christ, lover of nature and a servant at heart. She practices medicine in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and three children.