My personal battle with bitterness was not won in a day. Even as I relied on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (NAS), I felt so weak in this area. Those black places in my heart that God wanted to clean up were still so very black. And God knew what was deep inside of me, beyond the victories I had had in my life. I had forgiven two people who had wronged me, and another situation was turning around, but God knew that there was one more person I needed to forgive.
God knew about my horrible feelings toward this man who had caused so much hidden pain in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. So for a couple of weeks, God constantly reminded me of this person, and my feelings on every occasion were far from Christian. When his name came up in conversation, I felt angry. When his name appeared on a memorial, I felt betrayed. When I saw “his pew” in the church sanctuary, I was filled with bitterness. This person was gone–deceased–and I would never have to see him again, and yet his presence was thrown into my face again and again. Isn’t that just like God?
I told my counselor the same thing I had told myself, that I could not forgive or forget the horrific things this person had done. As I struggled with this dilemma, I started having meltdowns and nightmares again. I was back in bondage. I had to keep reminding myself that His Grace is sufficient. I heard a sermon once that phrased that promise like this: “Sufficient for you is the Grace of Me.” I tried to claim that sufficiency in my life, but I couldn’t let go of my hostility toward this man. The harm and hurt and pain were so deep.
O God, I need Your help!
I had come to my weakest point. That Sunday, my husband and I attended church in another town, and God gave the preacher a sermon topic just for me. Can you guess? Bitterness. I knew I had better pay attention to that message! Interestingly, the Scripture lesson was Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. “Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others” (NAS). That morning, the pastor preached a powerful sermon about forgiving and moving on. As those verses state, everyone hurts others at times. No one is without fault. The preacher urged me to extend grace to others.
The very next day, I read my online Bible study devotional blog, and the topic of the day was “Taking Steps Toward Forgiveness.” Oh, how my heart was challenged. I knew that God was my Sufficiency. I knew that He alone could help me extend grace in this situation. I knew that I had to forgive this person who had caused such horrible pain. I couldn’t confront him face to face, but I needed some way to express my feelings toward him. My counselor again suggested that I pour all of my hurts, bitterness, anger, and frustration–and forgiveness–into a letter. I resisted as long as I could, but finally one day I gave in and wrote that letter. Let me tell you, that was a heart-wrenching day for me. I wept all day long as I composed the lines, and remembering that day makes me want to cry even now. But I released the pain. I wrestled with those hurts, penned them on paper, and gave them to God. When I finished the letter, I dated it and stored it away so that Satan would have no ammunition to taunt me.
What release and freedom I felt. My counselor even remarked about the difference she saw in my life after I wrote that letter. I let go of the person who had caused so much grief and sorrow in my life, and I was so much happier for it. For you see, when I am weak, He is Sufficient.
Is there someone in your life, someone you will never see again, who hurt or molested you? Though the pain may be horrible when you think about your abuser, you can still extend forgiveness and grace to that person. You MUST extend forgiveness and grace to that person. I am here to tell you that you can do it. As much as you may want that person to show remorse and admit guilt, he or she is gone and will never repent or express sorrow for what happened. Dear One, for your own heart and soul and peace of mind, please put that desire aside. Instead, offer your forgiveness and mercy. Allow God to erase those black places in your heart and free you from this enemy who is in the grave.
God is Sufficient. He alone knows what the future holds, and He wants you to live victoriously today. Then one day you, too, can boast of His Sufficiency to another hurting, hopeless, defeated child of God, someone else who is weak and needs to know that “Sufficient for You is the Grace of Me.”
Blessings – Lisa
Isn’t it funny how that verse …. “My grace is sufficient”… means so many different things to different people. When our son was sick (I mean really sick… a kidney was removed and the other kidney wasn’t given much hope) my husband and I clung to that verse. Isn’t it cool how scripture is like that… it really is just what YOU need when YOU need it! I love you, Lisa! I’m thankful for your friendship and love how we just take up where we left off every time we get to see each other!
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Forgiveness is sometimes a wrestle, a fight, and we need to be Warriors when we feel our weakest. We know it is a miracle because God pours that strength into us. I love you, my sweetheart friend.
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Yes, God’s Word is so amazing! I love you, too, Susan. I’m going to miss my B&B stays for sure. I’ll just have to come for a visit on my own some time. 😉
Thank you for sharing this struggle. We all have to deal with people who have hurt us, although not to the extent you have unfortunately had to endure. Forgiveness is difficult, but holding onto bitterness hurts us more than it helps anything.
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