Imitating Christ When You're Unforgiven - a new post by @ShelleyHendrix
"...(B)e imitators of God, as beloved children; 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
One of the most difficult and painful experiences I've ever faced - and have had to learn to live with - is when I've wronged someone, acknowledged it to them, asked (begged!) for forgiveness and yet didn't receive it. Relationships can be so tricky, can't they?
Some of the BEST teaching on forgiveness that I've ever heard comes from my mentors at TrueFaced who have taught me that repentance and forgiveness are not means of fixing my behavior, but grace gifts to help heal my relationships. I love that! But what happens when you've repented and yet haven't received forgiveness? What do you do when the offended one becomes an offender by refusing to forgive?
There's only one solution: offer forgiveness for their lack of forgiveness. For me, it has meant that I:
- choose to receive the forgiveness of my Heavenly Father regardless of whether the other person(s) forgives me or not;
- walk in freedom to live my life as I give the other person(s) space and grace to live theirs;
- acknowledge any continued hurts to God and intentionally pray for the person withholding forgiveness.
We, as children of God, can trust that we are beloved by God, and imitate our Savior who modeled perfectly for us what it looks like to love others who may not love us back. Most people are doing the best they can, so if they're withholding forgiveness, it's possible that it's because they don't yet understand the power and freedom forgiveness offers them.