You were so deeply hurt you feel like throwing up. Your stomach churns those words, those feelings into a clump of pain stuck in your throat.
You seldom know what to do with that pain. You try to pray; You try to imagine the hurt Jesus carried to the cross; You try to put things in perspective by imagining how often and deeply you hurt God. But in reality you’ve been known to rip your shirts and scream into pillows.
Today I was so hurt, I found myself in that place. Not knowing what to do with my pain, I went to the gym and ran as fast as I possibly could on the treadmill. As my feet flew and my breathes turned into gasps for air, I asked God to take away the ache from my heart. I didn’t feel the relief for awhile but He did; He took it away.
Now, as the day presumes, I pray He fills me where I’m empty. For Him to love me where I’m not loved.
My pain always leaves me with some big questions about God:
How does He do it? How does God still love us through it all? Why does He choose to love us even though we turn our backs and repeatedly hurt him?
The Bible, clearly tells us to love as God loves (1 John 4:7-8). But is it really possible for us to love like God loves?
We probably could never love to the level that God loves, but shouldn’t we strive to be more like Him? God’s agape love is not conditional. So, what does God do with His anger? I believe He chooses us over Himself. He chooses to forgive and love over anything else. He chooses to be compassionate and gracious. He chooses love. When you find yourself deep in the pain of some hurtful, insensitive words spewed by your husband, you choose to hold your tongue, and fight to give him the grace and love God calls us to give.
“But you, LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
What does forgiveness mean? How does one truly forgive? Zephaniah 3:17 says that God “delights in us” “in His love He will no longer rebuke us” - He rejoices over us with singing.
Again, it sounds like God chooses to forgive us and see us for who we are without our ugly sin. What does that look like for us practically? It means looking for the good in that friend that tore you down. It means asking God for His eyes to see. The song “Give me your Eyes” by Brandon Heath says it so well:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.
For God, this forgiveness might look or be easy, we don’t know, but for us, forgiveness is a decision we make every single day (sometimes every hour). It is not a feeling of love but an action of love. It is how we choose to live - hourly putting on a cloak of grace asking God to have His heart.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
This hard, painful day ended with a small sliver of light from my son’s nightlight warming the room with a perfect glow while I held him tightly. I thank God for giving me this realization but as I held my son, I realized there was nothing he could do to stop me from loving him. This realization of my capability for deeply loving someone gave me the hope that I could love others that way.
Pain doesn’t have to be the theme in our hearts; we can love more than hate. We can heal more than break. We can, we can, we can. So, now to choose: to forgive and love or bitterly resent those that hurt us?