Forgiveness and reconciliation

What Has Hurt You Doesn’t Define You

Not long ago, I got very sick. It was just a stomach flu, but the pain was so intense that I didn’t feel like I was capable of existing beyond it. I just laid on the couch feeling like I was dying, unable to more than lift my head.

And I thought, “When will this ever end? Am I ever going to be back to normal? Is anything in this life worth living anymore.”

That might be a bit dramatic  — but I couldn’t help thinking that if 48 hours of normal sickness brought me to that mental state, how would months or even years of pain effect someone?

It’s so easy to be defined by pain. After all, because of the sin in this world, we are constantly surrounded by it!

But what does God have to say? Does our present pain — our sins, the sins of others against us, & the problems caused by the fallen world around us — define us?

Our Sins Don’t Define Us

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

(Romans 8:1)

When you became a Christian, your sins effectively ceased to exist in God’s eyes. Jesus Christ covered them, washed them clean with His blood.

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

(Colossians 3:3)

You died to your sins — you are alive in Christ Jesus. That does not mean we cease to sin or the consequences of our past sins disappear. But God knows that.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able …”

(1 Corinthians 10:13)

God is aware of your sins — every one of them, from the tiniest wrong thought to the biggest transgression.

To Him, they’re all the same — no one bigger or smaller than another — and He will help you through them.

It’s not a surprise to God when you sin. Yes, it saddens Him, but He will never cease to love you … and He certainly does not think of you as a sinful being, but rather as one of His beloved children.

Other Peoples’ Sins Don’t Define Us

Abuse. Neglect. Heartbreak. Broken promises. The world is full of people who have the power to hurt us — and often will.

Like us, they’re sinful beings lost away from Jesus Christ, but it’s difficult, and sometimes even feels impossible, to let the wrongs committed against us go and forgive.

But God is there, and He can bring us through these trials.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.”

(Psalm 138:7)

There is nothing any man or woman on this earth can do that God is not aware of. Trusting in His plan is difficult, but focus on His goodness.

Nothing can separate us from His love, and nothing can deter His plans.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38-39)

While it’s important to immediately extract ourselves from relationships that become abusive or dangerous, simply leaving a situation behind won’t lead to real healing.

Can you forgive your enemies, those who hurt you, even if you are still in the midst of their sins against you?

It isn’t easy. We live in a world that promotes anger and revenge. But God calls us to a higher standard — that of kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness.

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

(Ephesians 4:31-32)

The Fallen World Doesn’t Define Us

This world is full of so many evil, wrong things.

Hurricanes and fires take homes, businesses, and lives.

Governments and politicians steal freedom, smother religion, and in most countries actively persecute Christians.

Illnesses and other health issues plague us and our families.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the fear, but thankfully, God is there even so.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

(2 Timothy 1:7)

Remember Romans 8:38-39 from the last point? That is one of my absolute favorites. Sometimes when I’m afraid, it’s helpful to repeat it in my mind or even aloud.

To me, the NIV is especially peaceful:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Can you imagine a more amazing promise? Nothing can stand against us when we are in Christ. There is no need to fear. We rest firmly in His love, and there is no stopping Him.

Jesus said it best:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33)

God might not take away your tragedies, but He will be there with you through them.

When you lose a loved one, when your health declines, when your country is plagued by storms, remember His presence. He is there, and He loves you.

What Does Define Us

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

In God, we have been made new. Not only are our sins gone, but we have His spirit to encourage us through the many trials and temptations that trouble us in this world.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

(Romans 8:37)

We are not what has hurt us. But we are children of God, saved by His blood, rejoicing in His salvation. In the end, He is what defines us.

Kellyn Roth

Kellyn Roth lives in the dry basin of North-Eastern Oregon on a small ranch with her family, cat, fish, and three beloved border collies. Kell joined the Wilting Rose Project to reach out to young Christian women who need encouragement to keep their head in the fight with Christ centric in their life. She also posts on her blog, publishes Christian historical women’s fiction and romance, and teaches writing through Brett Harris and Josiah DeGraaf’s Young Writer Lessons

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