When people unexpectedly attack us, betray or reject us—overtly or subtly—our souls can become so discouraged that we’re tempted to give up. To withdraw. To hold back, fearful of opening up our hearts freely, unable to understand that just because someone in our past hurt us doesn’t mean everyone in our future will.
But when we invite Jesus into our messy narrative, as we tell him about our story and about all our pain, as we extend forgiveness to others, then he can start reshaping our perspective, reviving our fragmented heart, and restoring our ability to feel, love and care. As we invite him in, he can refill our heart with compassion—just like he did when he saved us—and we can begin to trust again.
Jesus completely forgives us every single time we make a mistake, and he always wants us to freely give that same gift to others. He wants us to forgive every offense—no matter how big or how small—the moment we consciously notice it. He wants us to practice love, grace and mercy—especially to those who wound us the most, because they are often the most wounded.
I have discovered that when I hurt people, it is often because of a broken place in me—a place of ignorance, fear, insecurity or jealousy that I didn’t realize was there, and I am devastated when I discover the capacity I have to deeply hurt someone. I’m so grateful for the friends who extend grace, love and forgiveness to me. I’m so thankful for the ones who love me enough to keep walking beside me, despite my shortcomings.
Forgiveness—freely asking for it from God and others, freely offering it to those who hurt us, and even freely extending it to ourselves—is part of how we heal.
And that’s the memo by Christine Caine.
Adapted from Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure by Christine Caine.