Wounds received by a person in close relationship with you are especially damaging. Whether it’s your mom, your husband, your sister or your grandpa….when a loved one says something or does something hurtful, the wound cuts exceptionally deep. After all, you were supposed to be able to trust that relative to love you! As a result, we’re often stunned when their behavior cuts like a knife instead.
As a believer, we know we’re instructed by God to forgive those who sin against us, but that’s quite a heavy-lift when the person who sinned against us was supposed to be a person we could totally trust. So, how do we forgive a relative who has sinned against us? Here are 4 quick insights from the Bible.
- It’s essential that you remind yourself that both you and that relative are sinners and you both are in need of mercy and grace! Sometimes, we conveniently forget that we have also let people down or sinned against people in the past. Once you remind yourself that you too are a sinner, it’s much easier to forgive that other person, because they kind of resemble you! Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
- Pray for God to give you a compassionate heart and unconditional love for that relative, because that’s how God treats you and I, even though we are sinners. Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
- Make the decision to release that relative from your desire to punish them or seek revenge for what they did to you. This is what God instructs in Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
- Because trust has been broken in a close relationship, ask God (and perhaps some godly mentors) whether you should have any boundaries with that relative moving forward. If staying in close relationship with this person could cause serious physical, emotional, mental or spiritual harm to you, God may want you to keep your distance, at least for a period of time. Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.
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