In this week’s devotional, we think about forgiveness. There are a lot of things in this world that fail us or oppress us. We are aware of the fallen condition of this world. It is painful even, to realise that we are not yet at peace with all the things going on in this world.
We also realise many wrongs happen because of sin, not just the personal temptations to sin, but also deception, disaster, evil, oppression and violence. Wars, those who are in authority, politics, and also people around us who hurt us. This causes hurt in us sometimes, especially when we have been hurt, or oppressed.
What do we do then? How do we deal with our hurt, trauma, anger, grief and bitterness? Can we overcome these? The Bible revealed to us that the mournings and hurt we experience can be turned into joy. Like David and Jeremiah, they turned to God in prayers and put their hope in Him. Even Lord Jesus gave us examples of turning into prayers of faith during oppression.
In Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God is near us, and He understands our pain, and He is near us and with us to help us. Sometimes we think we have to be happy in Jesus, and ignore the grief that we may suffer from the world. Jesus said in John 16:33b, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” God did not say we will be happy forever as Christians, but be comforted and be encouraged, God is with the broken hearted and He has overcome the world! What a joy to learn about this.
Let us be encouraged also that “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.” (Romans 8:38-39). Christ has triumphed over death, and even death has no authority over the saved ones, what more so of the persecution and oppression? We have the freedom and power to not keep the grudge and bitterness towards those who hurt or persecute us. We have the power to forgive! Jesus was both politically and religiously oppressed before He was on the cross, yet He still pleaded forgiveness for others, even on the cross.
Are you genuinely hurt from the things that happened to you? Cast your anxieties and trust God when you pray to Him in all these. May our cries and mourning be turned into worship and joy. May what we experience help us to depend on God even more. For Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” May we learn to commit our weariness and burdens to our God, and learn to take the easy yoke of Jesus Christ. Christians can talk to God about their condition and ask him to change things because they have a relationship with him. We can be sad, but we can be utterly honest before God, whom our faith tells us we can trust.
We can hope in our God to have mercy on us, to forgive us as we also forgive those who trespass against us.
- What was the greatest hurt and suffering you have experienced? Are you still in great pain?
- How can you overcome this with God’s power and ability? How can you pray to God with your pains?
- How can you rely on God to mourn, then to forgive?
Response to God
May we learn to commit our burdens to Him. May God help us to forgive those who hurt us, and we will experience the joy and peace in God.
Lord, you are close to the broken hearted, you also understand our weakness and shortcomings. We need you when we are hurting and we trust that you can turn our pains into joy. Help us to cast our anxieties to you and help us to hope in you, not put our hope in this world. Help us to have hope according to the salvation of Jesus Christ. “Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.