I answered an often burning question today. A woman basically said that she understood the need for forgiveness, but because the damage of what had been done ran very deep, forgiveness was no easy task.
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Been through it. Totally get it. Any issue that is built in a complicated way can be complicated to fix. I know first hand, when you go through a lot, it can take a lot to work with it. One of the biggest parts of repairing something is understanding it. Why? Because the more you understand something, the less it can hurt you. Two key points here are:
1. Understanding that we all do damage to the world in some way. We all need and deserve the forgiveness and love Jesus stood for. That means you and the people who damaged you. God is love and Christ died for our forgiveness. So, as hard as it is to follow those commands sometimes, we follow them because that's how the system works when it works. It doesn't work unless it works for everyone. That doesn't mean you go hug your opponent or hang out with them, but you can at least realize what Paul says in Ephesians:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 KJV
Sometimes the only way to love someone is just to pray for their release from darkness.
2. Pray for God to show you why you're holding on to the anger. Ask Him to show you the root and how to let it go. I've done this personally and He always revealed the answers to me.
I have an entire section on my website about this based on my personal struggle with it. The podcasts (which I recommend first) and articles are free:
A childhood that taught me early on to protect myself against harm... An adulthood that became confused by those unfortunate lessons... At one point in my life, I couldn't forgive myself and I couldn't forgive others.
More Supporting Scripture
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. - Jesus - Mark 12:30-31 KJV
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Jesus - Matthew 6:9-15 KJV
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. - Jesus - Luke 6:35-38 KJV
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