This guest post is written by LeadHer Local Branson, MO Coordinator, Vanessa Wohl. Connect with her chapter on Facebook.
I am a forgiver. As a matter of fact, I find forgiveness easy. I have been forgiven for more than I want to admit to, but I know I did. I know Jesus has forgiven me, and I know His blood was shed for not only me, but for everyone. As I see it, if He believes a person is to die for, then I should feel the same way. But what about when you ask someone for forgiveness and the person just does not forgive, and he or she tries to hold you captive to your wrongdoing? What if the person just will not forgive?
I had a situation where I hurt someone terribly. I was completely in the wrong, and blatantly did something I knew was hurtful. I carried the burden of what I did for many years. I prayed diligently and desperately for a way to ask forgiveness, with no excuses attached. Even though at the time I committed the transgression I was going through a horrible time emotionally and spiritually, I still hurt someone in the midst of my hurt.
I finally found a way to seek forgiveness. I sincerely plead for forgiveness from this person. I poured my heart out on how wrong I knew I was, and I asked for forgiveness. The person never responded. No response, no “let me think about it,” and not even “no, I won’t forgive you.” This person did not want to forgive me. That was made clear through others who found out about my heartfelt and sincere apology. So what now? Am I forgiven?
I laid my fleece before this person to seek forgiveness. I poured my heart out to God and begged Him to touch this person’s heart. I had already sought forgiveness from the Lord; I just needed an open door to seek forgiveness from the one I hurt. I did not receive that forgiveness. I felt horrible, and felt like I would never be free from the pain of hurting someone else so deeply. I still carried the burden, even after I sincerely sought forgiveness. Was I wrong to carry that burden still, or did I deserve to carry the burden until I was given forgiveness?
During the video teaching for the month of August, Christie and Holly teach boldly, compassionately, graciously, and lovingly about forgiveness. One aspect that stood out to me was establishing boundaries. I had to establish a boundary that required compassion and grace, as well as the courage to move forward. I had to lovingly continue to pray for the other person’s heart, while allowing the grace of God to fully overwhelm me.
One final step I had to take to move forward. As Holly stated, “Forgiveness takes trust.” I had to trust the Lord to heal the other person’s heart, and leave that person in His loving hands. Forgiveness is a two-way street, but sometimes one way is blocked until the Lord breaks the barriers of pain, unforgiveness, and bitterness. When He removes the road block, a true domino effect of healing breaks forth, and love truly flows freely.