Continued from here.
Person #1 is someone who hurt me many times over a period of years. I finally had enough and removed that person from my life. I had no interest in ever having a relationship with this person again.
God led me to forgive this person, which is something I had absolutely no interest in doing for many reasons. God placed a question heavily on my heart: “Do you love Me more than you hate this person?” It was a close call, but I chose to obey God. My specific way of doing this was to pray for her day after day, week after week, and month after month for well over a year. This was very difficult to do at first, but over time, my bitterness abated while my peace grew. This person mailed me a card apologizing for one of the many things she had done in the past, and I realized as I read it that my pain was simply gone – God had healed it! This was how I learned what forgiveness looks like – you know you have fully forgiven someone when the pain is gone.
I was happy to move on with my life without this person in it, with each of us going our own way, but that was not God’s plan for me. He placed heavily on my heart that He wanted me to reconcile with her. I did not understand why, but I chose to obey God out of love for Him. So, I invited this person to lunch when I was visiting other people (she lives out of state) and praised God the entire drive so I could fill up with Him before seeing her. I was surprised by how well that visit went. God filled me to overflowing with His love, joy, and peace, which flowed out of me to her. I could feel His love for this person and enjoyed the benefits of getting to experience that love as it flowed out.
I continue to stay in regular contact with this person out of obedience to God, expecting nothing from her. My role is to pour God’s love into her life by extending grace. I expect nothing in return. If she has anything to give, it’s a blessing, but it is also OK if she does not. God meets all of my needs, and I am simply extending His grace to her. I have not forgotten the many ways she harmed me in the past, but it no longer matters. She is a beloved child of God, and I view her as such.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace peeking out a doggie door over a welcome mat that says, “Welcome back.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]