I have done both. This is not about comparing stories, yours vs mine. This is about where we get all can get tripped up the most in life, being offended.
Unforgiveness is a person's way to try to protect themselves from being hurt again. (I am not negating the need for healthy boundaries.) Over time unforgiveness builds walls and create what scripture calls a stronghold. A stronghold is meant to be defended and defend it an offended person will do. They will defend it to the point of betraying anyone in their path that they feel threatened by... real or perceived. A person who is offended gains knowledge and uses it to justify their actions and right to hold onto their hurt. In a nutshell, if let to fester, offense leads to betrayal and betrayal leads to hatred. Remember when Yeshua said that hatred is like murder?
You can not shut down one part of your life and remain open in others. Deeper levels of intimacy in your
relationship with God will elude you and appropriate healthy closeness in human relationships will be hampered and eventually impossible. Some people try to fill their need for acceptance, significance and security in alcohol, lust, people pleasing and trying to perform well enough to feel and earn love. These are poor substitutes that at some point will dead end in pain. Pain is a symptom of an area of life that needs healing. If you press into, you can find it. God gives grace to the humble.
Love- true, longsuffering, never alone love is available. No matter what we have done or have had done to us, forgiveness is the path towards healing. Security, significance and acceptance is and always has been ours and it does not come from other people.
Let's look at what forgiveness is and what forgiveness is not:
*Forgiveness is not saying you forget. Matter of fact, you will experience triggers that are painful and those must find a path to healing that can only be accomplished when we choose to forgive.
*Forgiveness does not mean saying what happened is ok.
*Forgiveness does not mean that you have to reenter or stay in a relationship. Restoration and reconciliation is a beautiful part of the human experience and I believe that God desires it. However, you can only do your part and the individual(s) involved also have to be able to have true repentance (if they were in the wrong) and a willingness to forgive (if you were in the wrong.) Sometimes it might take time for each side to reconcile their own pain before they can move forward in a healthy way with each other.
*Forgiveness is a choice. If you wait to you feel like it you will continually justify it and put it off.
*Forgiveness is no longer letting someone else's choices or actions determine how you will live or what life will be like for you.
*Forgiveness is setting YOU free. It leaves the other person to God. And God always has and always will have the final say.
*Forgiving yourself (receiving forgiveness from God really) is often the most difficult and overlooked part of forgiveness. Yet in this you can acknowledge your mistakes or ignorance yet refuse to let it become your identity. You can not be any more loved than you are right now.
We are all living with the consequences of someone else's sin or our own. Being forgiven and forgiving does not negate what has happened but allows us to walk in grace and freedom to still become all that we are meant to be. We can live with the consequences in the freedom of forgiveness or the bondage of bitterness.
"Flushing" by Dr Ed Laymance is a very practical way to learn how to choose to forgive and work through the path of forgiveness. He shares the why, the how and what to do afterwards. "Flushing" is a free download you can find here:
I also have been extremely blessed to read and reread yearly "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere. It was life changing 6 years ago and as a refresher it is ...well, refreshing. Bevere really discusses the trap of offense and why it is so utterly important to stay free from it. The book is easy to find on Amazon but you can also download their free Messenger X app and listen to the shortened but effective teaching on it. (While you are at it check out "Breaking Intimidation" and "Healthy Relationships"...score!) MessengerX
Recently through another layer of trauma being uprooted, someone turned me on to the "Freedom In Christ" ministry. Life is a journey and every bit of healing and freedom I have ever had has been rooted in knowing, discovering and walking in my identity in Christ. This free program takes it to a level of healing I have never before experienced and I want to share that link with you too: DEPARTMENTS — Southview (Scroll to the bottom.)
We are living in a day and age where offense is rampant. In Timothy we are told that people will be offended, betray and turn away from God's ways in perilous times. I urge you, dear friends, to hold fast, press in, find healing. I know I am. The journey is not easy. The hurdles exist. The pain is real. The struggle legit. But the freedom, the absolute healing on the other side is worth it. I have tasted it before and I will recall the past for His faithfulness to me in order to find faith and trust for what must be endured now. I pray that you do as well.