Have you ever felt the sting of pain in a relationship and questioned yourself about what part you might have played in contributing to the problems? I know I have. If we have played a role in creating the circumstances that have led to our injury or betrayal, are the others involved still to be held accountable for what has happened?
If we have been “provoked” by another person, can we excuse our reaction? These are the kinds of practical questions that often torment us. Clarifying who and what warrants forgiveness is vital in our journey toward healing.
While Joseph reported on his brothers, wore a coat signifying his favor, and told his family of his dreams to rule over them, he is not to blame for the actions of his brothers. He did not make them commit assault and kidnapping. In the same way in our lives, people can push our buttons, yet ultimately we are responsible for our actions. We have a choice of which posture we will take when legitimate hurt comes into our lives. Which will we take?
- A victim mentality, seeing ourselves at the mercy of our pain
- A victor mentality, acknowledging the hurt while seeking God’s help in pursuing healing
How have you struggled with these two internal postures? What helps you move from victim to victor in your heart and mind when you are struggling with pain? Even if another person fans the flames of our pain, God calls us to forgive rather than excuse ourselves to disobey His commands.
It’s always our turn to do the right thing for the right reasons. Forgiveness isn’t one option on a list of possible choices for followers of Jesus; it is the only way to peace and freedom.