Are you one who has asked forgiveness from someone, but they refuse to forgive you? This is often an unspoken affliction which bears heavily upon many. The agony involved is so crushing upon the one so afflicted, that it can seem to eat away at the very heart and soul. It hovers like a dark cloud over many of God's people - the cloud of being "unforgiven"... !
There are many who HAVE asked forgiveness of someone, and the one who has been the victim steadfastly refuses to forgive the one asking forgiveness. They remain UNFORGIVEN by the victim. Of all the crosses some are asked to carry, this is one of the heaviest. Adding to the burden is the feeling of utter helplessness. This brings about a secretiveness and feelings of regret and shame by the one who has asked for forgiveness. They have asked God to forgive them, and know He has forgiven them. But, for some reason, the offended person or persons will not do so. This is a blatant and terrible violation of the law of Christ (Matthew 18:21-22), but it is all too common. At times, someone will SAY they forgive in word, and their actions indicate otherwise. So, as often occurs, pride enters the situation. Some feel they are just too good to forgive - a strange twist of logic, but nonetheless real. The offense is internalized, and the grudge quietly lived out against you. Of course there can be many other reasons the victim will not forgive. That notwithstanding, they still must forgive (2 Corinthians 2:7-11).
Many loved ones have died before there is time for anyone to say "please forgive me", or to hear "I forgive you" There is no opportunity for closure. Sometimes it comes too late. One of the most heartbreaking of all causes for not having received forgiveness or offering forgiveness concerns the attack on 9-11-01. God only knows how many of those who died and of those surviving had no chance to ask forgiveness or to respond by saying they forgive. Most could not ask "please forgive", or say "I forgive", or even to say "goodbye". Perhaps that would the most tragic of all UNFORGIVENESS!
What can be said, what comfort is there, what answers can be offered to "the unforgiven"?...
First, if you have offended or sinned against someone, the primary injured party is GOD (Psalm 51:3-4). You have broken HIS rule, He is the one sinned against. If you repent and ask HIM for forgiveness, He will forgive you. By dwelling and meditating on this, HE will soften the burden of sorrow and regret you carry because of the one who is unforgiving of you.
Second, forgive yourself. This is a very important element, not necessarily to influence the other one who needs to forgive you, although it can have an affect; but, mostly for your sake. At times forgiving ourselves is more difficult for US than for the one sinned against. Ask God to ASSURE YOU, that you are totally forgiven by Him, for the peace of mind that assurance can give. By not forgiving you, the other one has created their own problem with God. It is not your problem now. It is theirs.
Third, pray for the unforgiving, and forgive them for not forgiving you. Job prayed for his three friends, and THEN his fortunes were restored (Job 42:10). He was the OFFENDED party in this account, but there is a law of compensation in all matters and relationships. Praying for the one who is unforgiving, can enable you to forgive them for not forgiving you - and in time, enable them to truly forgive you! Prayer unlocks the prison door of unforgiveness...pray for love, that "never fails", to all and through all.
Ultimately, we must all understand that in all of life experiences, there are consequences. All actions have equal reactions - a kind natural justice, that God has built into His Universe - physical and spiritual. Some consequences are removed by God in Christ, some spiritual and some physical. However, some are not removed, or least not totally removed. Scars remain. Burdens are carried, some for a long, long time. This reality fulfills and validates God's principle of "we shall reap what we sow". There is the duel reality of removal and deliverance from many burdens, and the retaining of others, for conscience, responsibility for our actions, and to provide for accountibility for all, and to cleanse us to become more like Christ.
Everything else aside, you ARE FORGIVEN in Christ and as Christ in you! Satan would like to have you believe otherwise, and INCREASE the weight and burden of the cross you bear of someone's refusal to forgive you. He does this to DISCOURAGE you, and to preoccupy you with sorrow and regret. The more he can succeed in doing this, the more you may tend to question - even just a little - God's forgiveness of you! This undermines your faith, causes you to question God's love for you, and to tempt you (1 Thessalonians 3:5), to not forgive the other party. Be aware of Satans wiles - especially with these issues (1 Corinthians 2:7-11)!
All of this can cause you to want to just give up. A continuous feeling of regret is one of the most hurtful, lasting and damaging effects that can result from someone's unforgiveness of you. Sorrow or grief for an offence of word or deed passes more quickly than regret. Regret can seem to go on and on, weighing heavily upon you. Regret involves something NOT said or done that should have been said or done. Sins that we commit and sins of omission travel together. No one knows the reality of this cross you are carrying. Only Jesus Christ knows. No one knew the the cross He was carrying. No one except Him and the Father. He knows the cross of unforgiveness you are carrying. In a sense, you are carrying part of His. He was "unforgiven" - and He had nothing to BE forgiven of. Do not give up! God knows your heart, your sorrow and your tears. He has saved your tears in His bottle, because you are so dear to Him (Psalm 56:8). He will strengthen you to carry it. If you believe in and have faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit, the "Comforter" ("one who comes along beside" - Grk) will walk beside you. You can bear this cross for a while longer. If necessary, HE WILL CARRY YOU!
Look behind you now and then - there are two sets of footprints. And then... perhaps only one...!
"And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed".- Deuteronomy 31:8
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