I was listening to a Christian teenager vent to me about how irritated she was with a classmate of hers. We will call the Christian teen "Sarah" and her class mate "Lia". According to Sarah, Lia was claiming to be a Christian while at the same time living a very different life filled with bad decisions. As Sarah expressed her irritation, her anger began to rise and it was obvious that she had became bitter. Every time Sarah said Lia's name it was as if she just took a bite out of a lemon. She was sour at this girl and her attitude was mirroring. On the outside looking in, this frustration was justifiable. Sarah had felt alone in her school as the only christian soldier in her class and she felt as if Lia was abandoning her post and making her look bad. I prayed silently to myself for God to give me wisdom and as always he was faithful to give. God began to show me that the real problem wasn't Lia. The issue was the unforgivness in Sarah's heart. Just as God had put that in my brain, she looked at me and confessed
" I do not know how to forgive Lia. It's so hard for me to."
As a believer you probably had this happen to you. You begin to speak into somebody's life what God has put in your heart and after your done expressing it your own heart is challenged. Well... this was one of those moments. It was in this time I learned the secret to forgiving someone who had deeply hurt me.
Filled with the Holy Spirit I looked at Sarah and said
" Sarah the reason you cannot forgive Lia is because you have forgotten how forgiven you are by Jesus. I believe once you remember how God has forgiven you of all that you have done and will do, you will begin to show that same grace to Lia."
She was speechless. I was too.
The old testament command in the Bible goes like this
Leviticus 19:18 " Love your neighbor as yourself."
Well, that is pretty hard within its self. Yet when Jesus came to earth he changed everything including how we love one another.
John 13:34 Jesus said to his disciples. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
We are to no more love each other as we love ourselves but love one another as Christ has Loved us. How do we do that? By remembering how Jesus loves us. This is a supernatural revelation that Christ gives us as he shows us how loved we are by him. This is why John expressed in 1 John 4:19-21
"We love because he (Jesus) first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother."
Just as a lamp cannot give light unless its connected to some power source, We cannot share or express the love and forgiveness of Christ if we haven't been plugged into that Love ourselves.
" We love because Jesus first loved us" is the secret sauce to loving people and that includes forgiving others.
I do not know the end of her story. I do know that when I find resentment, and bitterness rise in myself towards somebody that has hurt me, I remind myself of how Jesus loves me. How unconditionally Jesus has forgiven me. Thats where I find my heart changing. The forgiveness I was trying so hard to force out of me becomes a natural expression of thankfulness. What I was trying to do on purpose I started doing accidentally because I am wrapped and transformed in the love of God for me.