Has this ever happened to you? Someone has hurt you; not the oops kind of hurt, but the intentional, manipulative hurt that caused you permanent pain kind of hurt. How did you respond? If you're like me, I hold on to the hurt and I feed it. The mere mention of that offending person's name makes me see red. There have been people in my life that I mentally check off my friends list because they wronged me and I try to sanitize that person's name from the mouth of any person who I know, namely my family.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a salad luncheon with my mother and the speaker that shared her testimony was a survivor of the Holocaust. She had suffered under the regime of Adolph Hitler for 12 years. Anita Dittman was persecuted in more ways than I could ever imagine. In the talk that day and in her book, "Trapped In Hitler's Hell" she shared about coming face to face with one of her torturers after the persecutor herself was being mistreated savagely. The enemy asked her, "How can you comfort me when I tried to kill you?" Anita's response is one of love and kindness, "Jesus says that we are to love our enemies and to do good to those who persecute us." She used the text in Matthew 5:43,44.
I was sobbing by the time this precious woman of God finished speaking. She reminded us of how Christ had prayed for his persecutors on the cross. Not too long ago I read a little phrase that I try to remember, "To be unforgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the person who wronged you to die." The only one that is hurting from unforgiveness is me, not the intended target. In reality, they probably have no idea or even deeper still, they probably never even think of me.
Your own Son forgave those around Him that spit on Him and crucified Him and He died so that they and I might live. Thank you for Your forgiveness. Help me to remember that You alone can help me to forgive and to bless those who persecute me.
In Your Precious Name,