Growing up in the Philippines we didn’t have much, so we got super excited about the littlest things! One day my parents bought my brother and I two pencils each. We were over the moon happy! After dinner, we would listen to one of the family members read out of the Bible. I was trying to hold on to the pencils for dear life and I accidentally dropped them. Frustrated that I dropped my pencils, a family member reached over with one of their slippers and smacked me in the face with it. I was 5 at the time and didn’t know what to do except run upstairs to my room. I was too upset to cry and shocked by what happened that I didn’t know what to do but to hold tightly onto my pencils!
Even though the incident happened when I was young, it affected the way I interacted with that family member. When that family member died when I was 13 years old, it didn’t even phase me. This family member hurt me so much that I just didn’t care.
Years later, Chris and I went on a marriage retreat shortly after we got married with our church. One of those nights, the speaker asked if there was something inside of us that was preventing us from having a closer walk with Christ. I didn’t have to dig deep because the incident of the pencils came to mind right away!
I harbored so much un-forgiveness that I didn’t even feel love towards this family member. It literally made me sick to my stomach when I realized how I never forgave this family member for what they did.
Forgiveness is such a powerful thing but so is un-forgiveness! It can eat at you the longer you don’t forgive those who have hurt you. Sometimes, you have to deal with the fact that you never forgave them when they were alive and you have to come to grips with them being gone but still have to forgive them just the same. There are people that walk around with so much un-forgiveness in their heart that they have become physically sick over it.
I feel that un-forgiveness is a root of hate. You become so accustomed to the ill-feelings towards the person that you don’t see any good they do or their efforts in making things right.
I know I didn’t. It was too late for me to forgive that family member because when I realized my heart was full of un-forgiveness, they were gone. I had to learn to forgive myself for carrying all the anger and hurt when I was little. I had to learn to forgive that family member as well. My pride had gotten in the way of seeing even in their death I could still forgive.
Let’s face it, people will hurt us. We will hurt people, especially those we love by our words or actions. You will only make yourself sick or sicker if you don’t try to make things right with the person that you hurt or the one who hurt you.
Because of this situation, I was able to really understand the mercy of God. I was able to tangibly experience His forgiveness. His sacrifice exposed my un-forgiveness. This lesson was hard to learn but, I am forever grateful for it. I finally understood how the woman at the well felt, when He said, “Go and sin no more” after He had pointed out that she was living with guy number 5 that wasn’t even her husband. She responded with, “I will tell others about what You had done!” She was overcome with His love and His forgiveness.
If you have hurt or have been hurt yourself, I plead with you, examine yourself. Ask God to show you any area that you are holding a grudge.
Know and experience His mercy today!