Forgive, Then Move On
by Rick Warren
“Still, if you set your heart on God and reach out to him, If you scrub your hands of sin and refuse to entertain evil in your home, You’ll be able to face the world unashamed and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless. You’ll forget your troubles; they’ll be like old, faded photographs.” (Job 11:13-16 MSG)
As long as you focus on someone you resent, that person controls you. You’re worrying about something he or she has already forgotten about.
Long before psychology came along, Job said there are three steps for inner healing:
1. Put your heart right. If you want to be emotionally healed from a hurt, you have to release the offender — whether you feel like it or not. Don’t try to get even. Forgive that person, then release him or her.
2. Reach out to God. You need to invite Christ to come into your life and fill you with his forgiveness. Why? I don’t think you can manufacture enough forgiveness in your life to handle all the hurts you’re going to face, not only those of the past but those you’ll have between now and when you die.
Do you remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom? She hid Jews in her apartment to protect them from the Nazis during World War II. When they were caught, not only were the Jews shipped off to the concentration camps, but Corrie and her family were, too. Everyone in her family was killed in the concentration camps except Corrie, and she endured torture and abuse. She later went back and met the guards who had abused her, and she forgave them. You can’t do that with human forgiveness. You need God’s supernatural power in your life in order to let it go and be able to say, “It wasn’t good. It wasn’t fun. It was bad. But I believe that God can bring good out of the bad, and somehow the rest of my life is going to be the best of my life.”
3. Face the world again. When we’re hurt, we’re tempted to withdraw into a shell, put up a wall, and decide never to let anyone else get close. You’re really only hurting yourself when you do that. Letting what happened to you in the past define your identity is like driving a car looking into the rearview mirror. You’re going to crash. You have to face the future and resume living. It doesn’t matter as much where you’ve been as it does where you’re headed.
Talk About It
What hurtful memory are you choosing to hold onto — something somebody said, did, or thought about you?
Pray this prayer today: “Jesus, I want my heart to be right. Please take this resentment out of my life. I choose to forgive [this person]. Help me to face the world again. Help me to focus on you in the future. Replace my pain with your peace. Replace my hurt with your healing. Replace my bitterness with your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life.” His book, “The Purpose Driven Church,” was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.