Unforgiven

May 30, 2018
by John Stuart

Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)

Do you know what it feels like to be unforgiven? Is there some past mistake in your life that you regret but can never fix? Are you carrying a whole dose of guilt because someone else still feels wounded? Are you sometimes sad because you were completely misunderstood or unfairly misrepresented and cannot change that misperception? Me, too.

It's an awful feeling to be unforgiven, and it gnaws away at your soul, especially during times of vulnerability, isolation, and sadness. You revisit events in your mind, and a shadow of remorse covers your soul. You can't do anything to change things, so in order to cope, you just pack it away into a corner of your mind and leave it there until it re-emerges at an unexpected or inopportune time. We cannot force others to forgive us, but we can follow Paul's advice:

Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)

As Christians, we are called to be forgivers. Jesus talked about it constantly, and in today's highlighted verse from Colossians, the apostle Paul echoes Christ's message by reminding the church folks at Colossae to forgive their grievances against one another in the same manner as Jesus forgave their sins. In other words, it was expected of Christ's followers to show forgiveness; otherwise their faith was shallow, insincere, and ineffective. However, if the Colossians truly forgave one another, then the church would actually be practicing what Christ required, barriers would be brought down, and wounds would be healed.

Points to ponder: Do I feel unforgiven? How much does it trouble me? Am I willing to forgive those who won't forgive me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all make mistakes and sometimes we hurt or disappoint other folks so much that they will not forgive us. Although we cannot change the past, allow us the ability to forgive ourselves and others, and do all that we can to mend broken fences and wounded souls. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    John, always an important subject.


    Straight talking. Thank you for a well written piece.


    Thanks for sharing this devotional with us. You really hit a tender spot within our family. One of our members easily takes offense then harbors resentment. Bridging the gap requires prayer and patience to await an opportunity that won’t make the situation worse. This is a pattern that repeats often. Over time, healing usually happens. Until then, prayer is the best recourse. Thanks again for sharing. Blessings.


    I sure have experienced this.
    The only solution that helps me is to place it in the Lord’s hands.
    It is amazing what sometimes happens when the Lord touches a hardened heart.
    A friend turned on me and moved out of my life. I worked hard on forgiveness.
    One day I saw her, walking along although she did not live nearby.
    I saw her again a few weeks later.
    One day she called and said, “I want to be friends again.”
    Of course, I said yes.


    Well I have had two families tell me they did not want to see or hear from me again because I always saw the good side of people and a situation. My husband’s church has been working helping new Canadians settle. A man from Family and Children’s Services told always find the best in these people. Yes, they stole to survive but if they could get a job then they could survive and then concentrate on making the children good Canadians and I found all the advice has been good.
    (ON)


    HI John
    Oh this is a good one!! I have lived through that big time a couple of years ago. I was forgiving her and her husband and then I started to ask God to change my heart also. Like the verse, take the plank out of your eye before you expect the sliver from the other…not exact words but you know. Things have changed a lot with these people. I was amazed. and it is hard because it is family.
    I keep praying and forgiving things as they pop up and always start with me.
    I can only change my way of thinking with God’s help and God can look after them.
    God bless you!


    Good Morning John:
    Yet another insightful Devotional. Your three main points are realistic, rational, and regrettable. However, they are also re-workable, thanks to the Grace of Jehovah and the mercy and compassion of Jesus.
    Not forgiving ourselves, causes a burden we do NOT have to bear! If we come to Jesus and ask for help in forgiveness to ourselves, it will be there! I firmly believe this. If we find difficulties in forgiving others, Jesus will also help us with this, and resolve this impasse. If others will not forgive us, in spite of our acknowledgment of our sin or indiscretion, we can pray for peace for that person. Once the situation has been addressed, FORGET IT, because God has put it as far away as “the east is from the west”, never to be brought up again. Peace will again be possible, for all concerned. Amen.
    Blessings,
    (Ontario)


    Dear Rev. Stuart,
    Thank you very much for this latest message which you sent a few days ago.
    I have pondered over your words and can certainly identify with what you are saying.
    I too feel guilt about something I have done in the past which no amount of wishing I can change.
    I find it hard to forgive myself, even though I know God has forgiven me.
    I suppose that in this life we will never be able to share fully what we feel.
    Thankfully, in the next life we will be able to to express to the fullest extent what we cannot in this life.
    And I am thankful that there will be no gender difference when we have entered our heavenly home.
    I often awake in the morning and know that I have been dreaming because there are tears in my eyes.
    Someday all that will change and I am looking forward to that day when time will be no more.
    With deep thankfulness to you.

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