We all know the popular verse
Matthew 5:44 “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
We also know how hard it is to obey this instruction from God. I always answer this verse in this mentality :
How? I’m not You Lord. LOVE your ENEMIES? Are you kidding me??? No wayyyy!!! 🙅 Can I just FORGIVE? But LOVE THEM? Nope! 🙈🙉🙊 (end of conversation)
I remembered teaching and sharing about forgiveness to my Bible study group last year. I believe it is also around this month. And here I am writing about the same topic.. Still have unforgiveness in my heart. 😢
God knows how hard I tried not to have enemies. I’m such a person pleaser that I’d go out of my way just to be liked and accepted. Even if it means doing things I cannot handle anymore. I worked as a customer service representative before, I was always reprimanded by my team leader because I always have some outgoing calls just to call the Billing Department to give the customer more time to pay his bill. I tend to forget about myself just to please a person and be loved. They said there’s nothing wrong with what I do. What’s wrong is how I expect them to treat me the same way. My answer is simple : If they don’t like me in the first place, why do they ask a LOT of things from me then not reciprocate after? It’s not that I’m asking too much from them. I’m just expecting to get the same treatment that person gives to some of her friends. If that person can do it to others who don’t give an effort.. Why can’t that person do the same with me who did and gave everything for her? That’s when ANGER, INDIFFERENCE, PAIN, REJECTION and HURT come in. ✊ (knock knock) Who’s there? Who-goat time!!!
It takes me months and sometimes years to forgive them and myself; especially when I ask myself, “What have I done wrong?” “Am I not good enough?”
I put the blame on myself. I get hurt and get angry to them and myself even more. Now when the pastor said that the preaching is about forgiveness, I had goosebumps already. I remembered so many instances that I GOT HURT!
At first, there’s resistance. I don’t want to listen because I really don’t want to forgive YET. I’m not ready. In short, I have PRIDE! 🍗🍤 (who does not want FRIED?) 😃
But the Pastor mentioned many things that opened my heart and mind. Here they are :
1. Do you get hurt easily by being ignored? Don’t be! So what if they ignore you! Jesus died for you. He paid for your sins and gave His life for you. Who cares if someone doesn’t like you. Jesus, the King of all Kings does! Does it still matter who does and doesn’t like you when in fact Jesus knows you and loves you so much!
2. We were Jesus’ enemies before but He loved us unconditionally. Who are we to hate others when Jesus loved us even though we’re sinners? We do not deserve LIFE but we have it because of Him.
3. We will gain so much because of forgiveness. We forgive so that we’ll have our own peace of mind. Peace of mind is something extraordinary. We cannot buy it anywhere. It’s hard to find PEACE. If you want to find peace, start to forgive.
4. We are having slow death because of unforgiveness. Because we have hatred in our hearts, we suffer PAIN that leads to ANXIETY that leads to HEART ACHE which leads to HEART ATTACKS. It could also give us INSOMNIA that leads to ANEMIA which leads to HEART PROBLEMS. Or as simple as UNFORGIVENESS = STRESS = CANCER! 😲
“In fact, not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith (1999)
Forgiveness may be the only “pill” we need for a better physical, mental, emotional and spritual state we have.
5. If we do not forgive, what is our difference from the “world?” Others must see a difference in us. A difference that will make them wonder and want what we have — a personal relationship with God. We are HIS CHILDREN, we are expected to be more like HIM.
In the end, the pastor made us watch this video : The Power of Forgiveness. This video made almost everyone cry. I burst into tears. 😭
Here are the things I realized after the preaching :
1. Do not give and expect ANYTHING in return. Do not expect a THANK YOU nor ANYTHING good in return of the things you give. Give just because you want to. It’s as simple as that. Because in time, you’ll tend to count and list those things then compare if it was reciprocated. Then get hurt again. Just give… then forget about what you gave.
2. Do not allow others to hurt you in little things so they won’t get used in abusing you in big things. If you know you are being used and abused, stop! You do not need to please and be liked by everyone. God loves you so much. You are highly favored. It is never your loss that they rejected you — it will be added to their BIG LOSS.
3. Do not feel bad when others ignore or reject you. Fix your eyes to Jesus. He loves us wholeheartedly and yet we tend to ignore and reject Him too because we are too busy chasing others.
4. Do not do the things they do to you. When we have enemies, we tend to also do the things they do to us. For example, I have an enemy who loves posting “indirect and offensive” things in Facebook. I hated him because of that. Lo and behold I became like him! I also post offensive and indirect posts. Whenever he posts offensive things on his wall, I also post on mine. I can’t believe that I hate him and yet I became like him. 😯 You just have to forgive. For all you know, you are already an exact replica of your enemy. 😰 Sometimes what’s worse is that we have an enemy because we like his/her life so much that we want to be like him/her. It’s like we hate our enemies because deep inside we want to be like him/her.
5. Forgive then LOVE. Simply because you want to obey God and get your eternal reward in heaven. Unforgiveness is still a sin and the wages of sin is death. If we forgive, the results are endless. From good health, to happiness, peace, and unity until our eternal reward. Nothing beats obeying God’s command. He thought of this already. God didn’t just say FORGIVE, He said LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. It is hard but we can do it in His time and with His grace. Nothing is too impossible for Him. Let us remove the shackles of unforgiveness in our hearts. Get the keys and open the cage you created for yourself when you started to have UNFORGIVENESS in your heart. Cut the string that you have between you and your enemy. In that way, you can already live with peace without the strings attached by all the heartache and pain.
6. It is understandable that we don’t forget. We are not computers that can easily delete datas. We are humans. We tend to remember. But we will only know that we have forgiven when we remember it but the pain is not there anymore. 😢
7. Unforgiveness stops you from all the blessings intended for you. Once you forgive, the gap between you and God (created by the sin of unforgiveness) will be cut off and blessings will flow.. and soon it will even OVERFLOW!
8. Do not base your self worth on how others see you. Most of the time, hatred starts from within. We hate ourselves so much that we tend to think that we are unacceptable and we will never be good enough for somebody else. We are God’s creation. We are created in His image. We are valuable. Once we know our worth, nobody can make us feel worthless.
Let me share with you the video of Sarah G about valuing yourself, Perfectly Imperfect.
9. Loving our enemies is possible if we ask help from God. We can ask a new heart from God. No more pain, hatred, anger, rejection and hurt. Just love, acceptance, peace, happiness and understanding for one another.
10. We have to forgive NOW! No more buts. No more excuses. Decide to forgive NOW!
At the end of the service, the pastor prayed for the congregation. I was crying the whole time because I know in my heart that I still have pain. I decided to forgive right then and there. I asked God to remove ALL the pain and give me a new heart. A heart that has compassion even for my enemies. It will always be a process for us to completely forgive. The important thing is.. WE HAVE DECIDED TO FORGIVE NOW!
Please follow me on this prayer : 🙏
Lord, I forgive (name of enemy). Forgive me for I too have sinned against you. Remove all the pain and hatred inside my heart. You are the only one who can give me the strength and the power to forgive. Be in my heart Lord Jesus and help me be the person you want me to be. Teach me how to love (name of enemy) and give me the chance to share with him/her the love you have for him/her as well. Thank You Father. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
We are finally FREE! Moving on won’t be easy but there are people who can help you out along the process. In the Philippines, you can call 700 Club for counselling : 8107176 and 8107717. Have a blessed life! 😄