For me, I didn't want to go to hell because I knowingly chose [REFUSED] to not forgive a person that hurt me. I thought, How can I walk around claiming to love God but when I see so & so, I start bad-mouthing them in my head & at times to others. It just didn't make sense in my spiritual eyes. I felt such conviction that I tried my very best to just ignore. But---I felt like a phony & I pondered what God thought of my behavior. And most importantly, I noticed that as I held tightly onto my unforgiving heart, it bridged a gap between me & God. And that was whether I liked it or not. Anger, bitterness, rage, refusal to forgive- all that weighs down your spirit man. So as I was intentional about spending time with God more, these scriptures would just ring ALL DAY in my spirit:
"34So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35 NLT
"46If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47If you are kind to only your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48
"7For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. 8That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God." Romans 8:7-8 NLT
"If you love me, obey my commandments." John 14:15 NLT
"But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:15 NLT
I would meditate on these scriptures, just stare at them, say them aloud. I can recall a time at church where we were reading the scripture the sermon was to reference, & it was out of the book of Matthew, and the Lord told me to look down, keep reading ...and that's when I came across Matthew 6:15. If you can picture a toy being taken away from a baby, that is how I began to cry saying in my heart "Noooo God, I don't want to. I can't." Even that was over a year before I finally had to settle it in my heart. You can say, "I forgive you," all day long. Forgiveness is a HEART MATTER. So if you're still holding onto all of the hurt- you have to let it go. You don't have to do it on your own & actually, you can't!
I find myself always praying the "break me, Lord," prayer. The, show me where I'm wrong-Take anything that's unlike you out of me-What am I holding onto that's hindering me from you Lord..prayer. Many reference this as a dangerous prayer to pray, because God will actually do it. However, it is just what David did:
"23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalms 139:23-24 NLT
God will begin to deal with you about certain areas of your life, as you cry that out to Him, and you truly mean it. It's like I would come to Him saying "God!!! I want more of you, I'm ready, take me, shake me, mold me!!! I'm ready to walk this thang out!" & In my spirit I would just hear Him respond "Not quite my daughter. You're still holding onto unforgiveness, you want to keep that hurt and go higher in me, but you can't." Say whaaat, Lord?! My flesh didn't want to. It was in my flesh that I wanted to hold on to the "But he hurt me!" A relationship of course. However, I had (and have) such a hunger, that I had no choice. I started to pray for the individual [like on my knees going hard in prayer for the person!]. I started to ask God to help me. I was honest, determined, & transparent with God. I told Him why I didn't want to. I read stories in the bible about forgiveness. I learned of people whose situations were much more dire than my own. && Well...GOD MET ME AT MY NEED. He truly did. I had an encounter, a long moment at the altar, time in prayer, that forever changed my unforgiving heart, to a forgiving heart. And I'm so happy about it!!! God truly hears our prayers.
I used to like to believe that I could tell anyone who's hurt me, to never speak to me, don't look my way-but it is so ungodly. I'm not saying be best friend's with the person, or "fall back in," but forgive, give it to God, love the person, and move forward. You can do it through the power of Christ. If He lives within you. Now, I want people [who may know my story] to say, "How in the world are you evening saying hello to that person, they've done you so wrong??" And I want to look them in the eye, with a genuine, pure heart & say, "The love of God flows through me. I'm commanded to love those who've hurt me, forgive, just as God forgives me, and keep obeying God." And the funny thing is, I was actually tested with that statement. Ha! I just love God.
I had the revelation that I don't have to walk around with the pain, bitterness, or heartache. As you seek God more & more, He enables you to do things that might seem crazy/impossible to a natural mind. We are told to cast our care onto God because He cares for us (I Peter 5:7)! I don't know about you, but it feels good to do what God does so mercifully,- FORGIVE. The enemy would love for you to walk around with the pain from your past, but you can't do it. Show him the GOD you serve!!!
I thought I would never forgive my biological father. He's been absent for most of my life, just couldn't get things together. He missed many birthdays, many big events. I refused to communicate with him, and did not want to take his calls. For years, I wrote him off. I went about my life. Little did I know, he had been praying that I forgive &love him, and my sister was too. I finally agreed to go visit him [something in me just said "sure, fine."], and it had been 13 years, since I last seen him, and I had only been saved about the last 3 of those 13 years. I wasn't expecting what happened to have happened, God had other plans. I cried for a very long time. It is just a testament of the power of prayer & God's working on our hearts. Only He can take a girl who was so angry, hurt, & bitter with her father, & totally reverse the situation. We now have a growing relationship, & I love, and have forgiven him..of everything..the end. Please know it didn't happen in two seconds. It is a process that you do not want to hinder.
We will never arrive in God. He will be pruning us until the day we are called to be with Him. Nonetheless, it is truly beautiful to know that each and every day of your life, a piece of your old self is burned off, and you intentionally pursue God, and become Christ-minded. Following God WILL SEPARATE YOU FROM PEOPLE & that's okay. Whoever hurt you, no matter WHAT occurred-please forgive them, for your sake & soul. It is not worth holding on to. You can truly move on with God, even if you don't understand how He'll work it all out, I think we are not supposed to. Just trust Him. All I do, is purposely delight myself in the Lord. I focus on what will please God. That is a life worth living. I'm no longer affected by trivial matters. Pray for wisdom & discernment in the area of relationships. Love. Be a light reflective of Christ. Obey God. Have Faith. Seek His guidance in all that you do. Have a forgiving heart, that's not easily offended.
"This is what the LORD says: Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve." Jeremiah 17: 5-10 NLT