weary womanStep 2 -Empathize with the person who hurt you.

I can imagine some of you are ready to throw your latops/iPads/cell phones ( what ever it is that you are using to read this) at me right now.  I know for some of you this can be a tough one to receive. I understand. It was for me as well.

Maybe it is going against everything you have stood for as a way to protect yourself.

Maybe you’re not ready to trust again and empathizing with the one who hurt you could lead to trusting them.

As hard as this may be for you, would you give God a chance to speak to you and open your heart to hear?

God came to earth as man and was tempted by every sin that we struggle with today (Matt 4:1-11). This allowed Him to empathized with us.  He understood then and still understands today that we are going to fall. So He made a way for us to be forgiven by sacrificing His life on the cross.

Thirteen years ago I was encouraged by my good friend Kim Smith to start the Bible study, “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. On one particular day the challenge was to forgive someone who had hurt me. I knew instantly “who” this person was. I had struggled with anger and bitterness towards them for years and could not forgive. My pain was requiring a price to be paid by him and this had yet to happen.

It did cause me to remember all that had happened to me as a child and how it changed my life for ever. I questioned God and His ability to truly understand where I stood and why. Was he there with me each time I was abused? Did he even care that I was crying out to Him for help? These are questions I had asked Him for so long.

As a child I envisioned God’s hand to be so big that all He had to do was bring it down to earth, place it between my abuser and me and everything would STOP!

My emotions were going everywhere. My heart was racing. Frustration and anger had made their way to the surface. I compared my life to my abuser -my sin against his.

My sin wasn’t near the size his was, so why am I the one that has to forgive?  Sin had left its stain on me. At that moment God stopped everything with His voice!

“Cherie, I didn’t just die for the sins you have committed; I died for the sins that have been committed against you.”

I saw the cross before me and realized I had limited the power of Jesus’ death to only cover my sin. I understand now what the old hymn “Jesus Paid It All” truly means.  I saw that all sin weighs the same in God’s eyes and Jesus paid the price for both of us.

The truth that He spoke began to break the chains I had been bound by for so long.  I became overwhelmed by His love for both my abuser and I. For the first time I was finally able to forgive. Only God has the power to break down the years of pain, anger, and bitterness.

Broken people create more broken people.

I could see my abuser’s brokenness. This doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t wrong. What Jesus did on the cross means I had permission to forgive him.

I finally understood that God loves this broken person just as much as He loves me. I could not have said this even a week before my encounter with Him.

This happened in June of 2000. As I look back at this very defining moment, I don’t think there is a more beautiful way to take back what has been stolen from you than to pray for the one that has hurt you. Praying for him opened my heart to release the pain and anger. I learned I could trust God, even with something as ugly as this.

Something else happened to me that day.  God started the process of setting me free from the strongholds I had been bound in for so long.

Thoughts that fogged my understanding of right and wrong were now becoming clear. My inability to hold others accountable for what they were doing to me was beginning to loos its grip. I was starting to hear God’s whispers that I matter, that I am worth everything to Him.

Verses that I once read and would instantly mutter “those aren’t for me” were starting to remove the lies I had believed for so long and began to take their place in my soul.

Forgiveness was teaching me God’s truths.

Forgiveness was dissolving the massive chip on my shoulder that kept everyone, including God, at arms length or away from from me.

Forgiveness opened my heart to let those that matter to love me.

Forgiveness is the tool God is using to restore me.

Jesus paid it all!  Watch this video and let God’s love embrace and cover you today.