My friend shares her story about being wronged by another woman…which resulted in hate, and was played out in church:
“I was taught not to hate, to forgive those who wrong you and to pray for them. But, my situation was different, worse, bigger than life and surely did not fit into those same principles. I had been wronged and was bitter to the core. Hatred engulfed me, forgiveness was not an option, and prayer for the wrongdoer was unfathomable.
For years I would go about my daily routine, always with the hope that I wouldn’t encounter this hateful woman in the store, on the ball field, at the post office, or any place that I would frequent.
God had different plans though.
It was during my regular, weekly attendance in church, that this woman walks in.
I was overcome with shock…disbelief…extreme frustration.
“Really God??? You know my heart, you know how she hurt me, you know I am bitter and angry, and the one place I feel safety, security and peace is in this church with my friends and family and You have allowed this?” Really?
After church I cleared my head and began to think more rationally.
Surely this was a one-time visitation. I’m sure she won’t come back.
Not the case. You see, not only did she come back the next Sunday, but she also joined the praise team. I had to watch her sing on stage week after dreadful week!
I prayed all right!
Lord, let this woman find another church and fast!
Months passed and my prayers went unanswered… or so I thought.
One Sunday our pastor preached about forgiveness. During his sermon he mentioned that if you had feelings of anger, resentment, or bitterness for another person, God instructs us to forgive them. He further explained how by not doing so, the devil was keeping you in bondage.
Something happened…and my heart began to break—no, soften, and I desired to be free. Quietly I prayed…or argued with God, again justifying my behavior for the pain she caused me. But the softness and gentleness continued to fall over me and I knew what needed to be done. So with a power that only God can give, I walked up to her after the service. With tears in my eyes I told her I forgave her. She did not ask for forgiveness but I knew that she needed it. I actually felt a love for her which I never could have imagined was possible. She was not a perfect person; she had obviously made some wrong decisions that where hurtful and she needed forgiveness. But now I saw her through God’s eyes…as my sister in Christ.
Haven’t we all needed that at some time or another? Praise God, I was given the strength to offer forgiveness. I was finally free of hate! And you can be too.”
Wow! What a powerful testimony of God changing a person’s heart to free her! Her prayers were answered by a God who loved her so much He wanted to free her of the sin that entangled her and kept her in bondage. Thank you, my friend, for sharing, and for being so open and transparent. Your words will certainly encourage readers.
So, as those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She is the author of one Bible Study, “Shine! Young Women Radiating the Love of God,” available fall, 2015. In addition, Debbie is an adjunct instructor in the Education Department at Montreat College. She would love to speak at your next women’s event. For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.