I was sitting before God early this week seeking His wisdom around an all too familiar issue in my life. Someone had hurt me and I was trying to glean some understanding of how to move from what I was feeling to a place of more peace. I felt God ask me to seek my heart and identify how willing I was to offer forgiveness to the one whose actions had caused me pain.

God is really dealing with me right now about how often and how quickly I experience feelings of rejection – which is what this circumstance again brought up for me – and He was inviting me to bring THAT to Him rather than just talk to Him about what the other person did to me. Because as long as I was focused on them and what had transpired, I couldn’t really listen to what He was trying to teach me through it.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we recite forgive us our trespasses (debts, sins) as we forgive those who trespass against us. Jesus taught His followers to pray this way and I think it indicates that the issue of forgiveness is going to pop up all the time. We tend to think and talk about forgiveness around big issues and those certainly are worthy of discussion. But the need to extend forgiveness is nearly always present as we walk through encounters with family, friends, and acquaintances. This week I have gained a deeper understanding that through wounds and offenses God can work in our hearts and offer lasting freedom from things that enslave us.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t yet know how I am going to handle the situation. It’s likely there will need to be a conversation around how I feel the person wounded my heart if the relationship is going to thrive. But I don’t have those answers yet. What I do have is a renewed sense of how important it is to quickly offer forgiveness. I need to forgive the person quietly in my heart before I deal with the specifics of the offense.

This is me in what I call the “messy middle” of seeking understanding. The person hurt me and I’m going to have to figure out how to handle that. But I have decided not to hang onto the specifics of the incident. I’d like to accept the opportunity to take a closer look at what God is trying to teach me through it. I’d like to learn things about Him and about myself that will make me stronger, steadier, and more merciful. Lord, forgive me as I forgive.