The bondage of unforgiveness (remember the prison cell in the last blog) begins with a perceived offense or sin perpetrated against us. It is similar to being struck, cut, or gauged in our flesh, except the wound pierces the depths of our soul and even our spirit. Remember the soul is that immaterial part of you that comprises your will, emotions, thoughts, memories, and understanding. The spirit is that part of you that relates to God. You are a spirit with a soul housed in a body. And all three can be hurt.
Perhaps someone called you a name, embarrassed you, hurt your feelings, cheated you, abused you, made fun of you, used you for selfish gain, gossiped about you, ruined your reputation, got you fired, abandoned you, beat you up, lied about you, cheated you, disappointed you, chose you last or not at all, or otherwise hurt you in some form or fashion Whatever it may have been is either a sin, an offence, or both. A sin comes up short of what God requires, while an offence is something that causes a person to stumble and fall. Whatever you choose to call it, it hurts and it hurts deeply. That wound probably left a gaping gash in your soul.
As children, we are hurt by our parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, neighbors, older kids, teachers, coaches, bullies, and others who may or may not have exercised some authority over us. Perhaps it was a word or comment spoken one time or over and over like stupid, dumb, ugly, fat, useless, skinny, cry baby, four eyes, sissy, or no common sense. It could have been an embarrassing event in front of a crowd, in a locker room, or while you were reciting or writing something in class. Perhaps it happened in a dark room or on a stage with bright lights.
Perhaps you were assaulted physically or emotionally by someone you trusted or were entrusted to by your parents. Perhaps you were lied to, left holding the bag, or abandoned by someone you trusted—a spouse, a friend, or a family member. Perhaps you shared a secret in confidence and they betrayed your trust. Perhaps you struggle with a learning disability or physical handicap and been the brunt of cruel jokes all your life.
Perhaps you were betrayed, cheated, or lied about. Whatever it was and whenever it happened it hurt you to the core. It cut to the quick. Perhaps you remember the details as though it happened today, even though it was five, ten, or even fifty years ago. It hurts right now like it’s happening at this very moment, or you are so numb from this wound that you don’t feel anything except emptiness.
If anything I’ve thrown out there sticks, it’s likely you have been offended, wounded, or hurt. Perhaps I’ve failed to describe what’s aching deep within your soul at this moment, but God has massaged it with his finger as you read this, and it’s still as tender to the touch as it was the day it happened. If that’s the case the splinter is still there.
There is no good reason why any of these things should have been done to any of us, but they were. It’s not God’s will, nor God’s fault. God is not responsible for everything that happens. He did not cause it and likely you did not deserve it. But—it happened and you are left with the pain, sorrow, shame, and repercussions of what was done or said. You may not have caused it, but you are left to deal with it.
That my fellow traveler is what happens when one is wounded, hurt, or offended by another person. As we travel farther along this road, it would do you good to keep a written list of what hurt you—what caused the pain. It will prove extremely beneficial in the very near future.