In order to forgive others, we must be forgiven. We can neither love nor forgive as God intended until we understand His love for us and ask for His forgiveness of our sins. It's at that moment in time that we experience something so unique and so pure that it literally changes our whole life. Forever. When we come face to face with who we are, and by contrast, who we are not, as it pertains to truly having a relationship with Christ, then, and only then, can we repent and ask forgiveness and in like manner learn how to forgive others.
When we have been hurt in our life, especially by a parent, a spouse, or a close friend, it leaves a mark on us that we live with, sometimes for the rest of our lives. Today it seems that if you DIDN'T come from a dysfunction family you are outside the norm. What having a relationship with Christ teaches us is that the patterns we learned early in life can be changed to reflect who we are now and who we are becoming every day. If we don't forgive the wrongs that have been done to us, the hurt will turn into bitterness and that root will begin to show up in the dirt of our own lives.
Your pain can both define who you are and how you see the world. This is especially true in the parent and child relationship, effecting our ability as adults to love, trust , and respect those we hold most dear . Often we see marriages crumble and friendships effected because we exhibit the same traits we identity with as having hurt us so much. You may use a pattern of causing pain or heartache to others when you are hurt because you spent so much time in your past lashing out to be loved and understood and held and comforted. Maybe they never kept their promises to you, embarrassed you, physically or mentally hurt you, and now you think that's the way to express your pain. Maybe you've been lied to so much that you learned how to lie as a way of inflicting pain on someone who has hurt you. Maybe your parents didn't model a good marriage relationship in front of you and now you don't think you can have one either. Maybe you think you don't deserve a good life, will never have a good life, have gone too far down the wrong path. Maybe, just maybe, you don't know how to forgive because you've never been forgiven. It's worth thinking about. Feelings we inflict on others do matter. If you are struggling with forgiveness in your life, you should know that better than anyone.
The example that Jesus showed on the cross in asking the Father to forgive them for not knowing what they were doing, is a model that can transform our way of dealing with those who have hurt us and left ugly marks on our personality, our hearts, our soul. It may be that the parent you love but can't trust not to hurt you, was also hurt and effected by a vicious cycle of pain in their own lives. It may be that they never experienced forgiveness or the unconditional love that only Christ can provide. It may be that no one showed them a better way, a different path, the truth that you can turn from who and what you were to who and what you want to be. It may be that your spouse or your friend or your parent desires more than anything to love you and be there for you, but because of your bitter root, you have walls that they cannot scale to reach who you really are inside. Ask Jesus. Use His example. Purpose today that you don't have to let the root of bitterness take hold, keeping you from forgiving others or seeking the forgiveness you desire so much.