You can 4-Get Your Hurt
By Pastor Dennis Heppner
February 28, 2010
Have you ever wondered how many times you need to forgive the same person for the same thing? As a Christian, aren’t we expected to forgive and forget?
A successful Irish boxer came to Christ and later became a preacher and evangelist. He was in a new town setting up for his evangelistic meeting when a couple of tough looking guys noticed what he was doing.They did not know anything about his background and made several insulting remarks. The Irishman merely turned and looked at them. One of the bullies then took a swing and punched the ex-boxer in the side of the face. He shook it off and said nothing as he stuck out his jaw toward them. The fellow took another glancing blow and hit him on the other side of the face. At that point the preacher quickly took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and announced, “I have turned the other cheek, the Lord gave me no further instructions.” He punched back.
How many times do you need to forgive before it’s enough?
My subject today is about forgiveness. I do not want you to be misled by my title, which might suggest that forgiving and forgetting are somehow closely connected. It is very possible to forgive and yet never forget. Today I would like to speak to you about “4-gets” that are necessary to resolve our hurts and pains in life.
Get Real, Get Over, Get Right, and Get Going.
1. Get Real.
Everyone today has been hurt by someone, somewhere, sometime and possibly many times by the same person. The hurt and the pain of our lives usually comes through the experiences and relationships of life. The most painful hurts often coming from the people we are the closest to. Hurt comes—
- when you are treated unfairly,
- when your sincere motives have been misunderstood,
- when someone has exploited you or taken advantage of you,
- when you’ve been wounded either intentionally or accidentally,
- when you’ve been neglected by a loved one, or someone has rejected you.
For some of us, the hurt and the pain has been over and over and over again.
It always starts when we are very young. I do not justify those who hurt us, but many times the one who hurts us does not even know what they have done.
I sat with a young woman in an office a few years ago who, when I asked her about her childhood, rather defensively she told me the story of her father. She so vividly remembered her loving father who, one day came home and said he was leaving because he had another family somewhere else. I still remember her words as she defended him by saying, “I know he still loved me but he had other responsibilities.” It was the only way her childhood mind could deal with the fact that her father was abandoning her and he never came back. She could not or would not admit that she was angry about being abandoned. “Are you upset about his leaving?” “No”, she replied he had to do it. He had another family.”
Consider the great level of disappointment we carry when as a child that core need to be loved and cared for by our parents is never met either because the parent is too involved in their own troubles or too busy doing something else to think of their child. The comments made to us by adults often make vivid long lasting memories and hurt.
Then you become that one who is neglected. That marriage that took place months or years ago in which someone said to you, “I will love you, respect you and care for you” has failed to keep that promise. What you expected did not happen. Only God knows the level of pain that many people have carried in their soul because of abuse and neglect. Sometimes the hurt is the direct result of another human’s inability to do what was right or needed.
What so many of us do not realize is that for every hurt and pain in life that is unresolved, there is an accompanying anger that remains and affects other areas of our lives and other relationships. The power of unresolved anger can bring trouble to your mind, emotions, physical body and your relationships.
As far back as a A.D. 600 Indian medical leaders warned about attempting to treat someone who was filled with toxic emotions. The Ayurvidic Indian text called Astangabradaya Sustrastbana, states the physician should reject that patient who is busy with other activities, who is violent, afflicted with grief or full of fear. They believed that toxic emotions would make one sick.
Dr. Don Colbert in his book Deadly Emotions titled one chapter, “The warping trap of resentment and bitterness.” He describes a patient of his, now crippled with arthritis, who was so filled with anger toward her former husband, expressing that she wanted that husband to die — and not a peaceful death either. Colbert goes on to say, “Today, I am firmly convinced that bitterness and unforgiveness may actually have caused the arthritis.”
Stop for a moment and think about your life and your past. Unless you’ve already heard this truth and taken steps to be released, you may still be trapped in a cycle of anger and bitterness today. That anger and bitterness from an experience of long ago, may yet control the behavior and circumstances of your life. So this morning we need to get real and understand that pain and suffering has come at times to all of our lives.
2. Get Over It.
I don’t use this phrase lightly or sarcastically, as if to suggest you should dismiss emotional pain and consider it irrelevant but I do say with 100% certainty that if there is no way to get beyond the hurt of the past then we are doomed to be controlled by the negative emotions and pains of our past.
Wayne W. Dyer: writes this in his book Your Erroneous Zones;
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing what ever it is about you that is making you unhappy.
Why do we blame others? I clipped an article in Psychology Today several years ago by Dr. Theadore Dalrymple and here’s what he says;
“Since we live in a world of perpetual injustice, everyone supposes he or she has a real cause to feel resentful. But the resentment we feel is by no means proportional to its alleged cause.”
He says further, “Everyone feels like a victim. Everyone wants to be a victim. If I am innocent, I have no responsibility to fix it.”
Now listen to this, “If resentment lasts long enough, the possibility of change really is destroyed and no longer exists.”
There is no way to begin the healing process in your life until you hear the truth and understand the message of Jesus which says that forgiveness is the opening of the door for Jesus to bring healing to your
life. You may not yet understand forgiveness but if you do not forgive, you are locked into a cycle of hurt and pain that may cripple your life for the rest of your days.
The English word “forgive” came from the Latin word “perdonare”, meaning “to give completely, without reservation.” From this word also comes the English word “pardon”. When “perdonare” was adopted into the Germanic ancestral language of English, the “per” was replaced by “for” which meant “thoroughly” and “donare” was replaced with “giefan” meaning “to give”. The result was “forgeifan” and meant to “give up” as well as “give in”. So we have “forgiven” The English dictionary says that to forgive, is to give up all resentment against one, to give up the claim to punish, to stop being angry or to cancel or remit of debt.
John BeVere in his book, The Bait of Satan, states that the word “offence” found in the New Testament comes from a Greek word that originally referred to the part of a trap to which the bait was attached. He goes on to say that all offence is a tool of the devil to bring people into captivity. It is so important to face the reality that hurt and pain and offence are a part of human relationships. It is important to remember that if Satan could take advantage of your hurt, pain and offence and bring a bondage into your life then he would love to do that today. Therefore for your own future, there must be a way to get over it.
That brings me to my third point;
3. Get Right.
We now turn to our scripture in Matthew 18:21. The background is in the verses before this where Jesus is teaching what to do if someone sins against you. Peter asks a question. Peter was not much different than you or I. He comes across a little arrogant at times and here again it comes out. When you read the words of Peter you may think that his comment about forgiving seven times is noble and humble. In rabbinic discussion, the consensus was that a brother might be forgiven for a repeated sin three times and on the fourth there was no forgiveness. So Peter thinking himself to be bighearted, volunteers the seven times.
Jesus clarifies three things in His answer. First, he takes Peter’s numbers and blows them out of the water by saying not seven times but 77 times or some suggest 490 times.
Then Jesus connects forgiveness to living in the kingdom. And lastly, He makes a most serious statement saying that those who would not forgive their brothers could not be and will not be forgiven by God.
The servant owes the Master 10,000 talents. There is no exact calculation as to how much a talent was but placing a value of $12 million would be reasonable for 10,000 talents –over P500,000,000.
Selling this man into slavery would not cover this debt. It just shows how impossible it was for him to pay the debt. The king has mercy and forgives him. This ungrateful servant turns to a fellow servant who owes him just 100 denarii-which is about 100 days wages for a common laborer, or at P600 per day just P60,000. The servant’s attitude is unbelievable. He has been forgiven of hundreds of millions of debt and yet for a few thousand pesos he will not forgive a fellow servant. When the king learns of this, he becomes so distraught he has the servant thrown in jail and given to the tormentors. What Jesus teaches here is that there is no inconsistency in the actions of a loving Heavenly Father who forgives so bountifully and punishes so ruthlessly. It is precisely because God is so full of compassion and mercy that He cannot tolerate those who have no compassion and mercy. The one with great debt could have been entirely forgive and if he would have granted forgiveness to his fellow servant.
This business of forgiving fellow men has been an issue almost since the very beginning of creation. We, who have been forgiven of so much, often are ruthless, bitter, revengeful, sarcastic and legalistic of others.
Life goes on, but hurts keep coming and that’s why is Martin Luther King said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
4. Get Going.
There are some very practical questions that need answering in order to resolve the hurt and pain of our lives.
- What does it really mean to forgive?
- How do you forgive one who has hurt you over and over?
- How can you forgive someone who still causes pain in your life?
- How can I forgive if I don’t feel like it?
God never asks us to do anything that is humanly impossible. If He does, He always offers His supernatural strength and power to do it.
Forgiveness is an act of the will. Jesus used the words in Matthew 6, “If you forgive men their sins, your father in heaven will forgive yours.”
I will add a word to clarify this. If you “choose” to forgive men their sins your Father in Heaven will choose to forgive yours. The Bible never speaks to your emotions. It speaks about your emotions and the Bible is full of emotion but it always speaks to your will. Every obedience is a choice. Every disobedience is also a choice. So I must choose to give up my resentment. I must choose to let it go, wipe the slate clean. I must choose to cancel the moral debt.
Where do I begin? Forgive one at a time. You cannot just say, “I forgive everyone everything.” You must face each pain, each hurt and forgive that hurt. You must let Jesus bring healing to every wound in your life. One at a time-each person by name.
If the pain is deep, forgiveness is not one single action. The length of the forgiveness process is usually proportionate to the severity of the pain.
There have been people that I had to forgive every time I thought of them. I chose to forgive them Monday but when I thought of them Tuesday I felt the same so I spoke the words again, “I forgive you for this and this.” Then Friday when I thought of them I felt the same so I said it again and again.
You see, we often mistake our feelings as the truth. What you feel is always real but not necessarily true. Our feelings will change if we do the right thing. However, if we live by our feelings, we may never do the right thing.
I bring this to a conclusion by reminding you that all of us are in the same boat. Everyone has been wounded and hurt by people, that is our reality.
Then, too, that hurt must be faced. We must get beyond it and get over it.
Then get it right. Jesus teaches us it is necessary and right to forgive and He will help us take that step towards freedom.
Lastly, nothing changes till we get going. We must do something to become free.
Can you take just one step today towards being free?