When we can’t forgive

When we’ve been hurt by another person and it’s not fixed, what do we do? When they neither seem to notice what they have done wrong, nor care about the pain they have inflicted, let alone say they’re sorry, how do we live?

Eva Mozes Kor along with her twin sister, Miriam, were taken to Auschwitz at age ten where Dr. Josef Mengele used them for medical experiments. Although Eva and Miriam were liberated from Auschwitz at the end of the war, Miriam died in 1993 from cancer attributed to the ordeals she had undergone. No one else in their family survived the war.

Eva lives in Indiana where she has opened a Holocaust museum and education center. Eva is an advocate for forgiveness.

Eva’s story is somber, but her testimony is also astonishing because she has forgiven her Nazi perpetrators.

How, I wonder, could Eva possibly forgive these people for the pain, humiliation, and horrors inflicted on her and her sister and their family?

Most of us have not experienced anything as horrific as the Holocaust. However, all of us know pain inflicted by another person. And although our experience is not as brutal as Eva’s, our own pain is the worst we know and forgiving our tormentors can be hard to do.

Where do we find the strength to forgive offenses committed against us?

Scripture says:

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer. Matthew 5:44 (MSG)

Prayer, however, is not a magic fix. Prayer does not guarantee we reach the state of forgiveness. Nor do you need to pray to arrive at forgiveness and reconciliation.

Eva makes no mention of prayer, instead she says “forgiveness is nothing more than an act of self-healing and self-empowerment.”

Forgiveness, then, is not purely a Christian distinctive or course of action.

Just the other day I read an online article by the Mayo clinic on how to let go of grudges and bitterness. There was no mention of God or prayer.

So why does the Bible want us to respond with prayer? What difference does it make if we are trying to forgive someone?

When we turn to prayer it becomes less about us and more about God. Prayer shows the orientation of our hearts to be turned upwards to God instead of inward on ourselves.

Prayer changes my perspective from self-preservation to God’s transformation.

Vengeance and unforgiveness are not my business; they are God’s concern. Goodness and forgiveness are the duty of a child of God; and the obligation of a good God.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous, says Matthew 5:45.

It’s hard to forgive when someone has wronged you. I have prayed day after day for many months for a relationship that seems unfixable.

We have to work at forgiveness, but when we do, in the end, it gives God what is rightfully his—the glory.

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Linking up with Suzie Eller at #liveFree, Katie Reid at #RaRaLinkup, Jaime Wiebel at #SittingAmongFriends, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart and Arabah Joy at #GraceandTruth

Discussion

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