The Complete Therapy Formula

I only know one true way to complete therapy and healing from betrayal, hurt, or offense inflicted by another: forgiveness. Philip Yancey, in his book "What's So Amazing About Grace?", says, "If we do not transcend nature, we remain bound to the people we cannot forgive, held in their vise grip. This principle applies even when one party is wholly innocent and the other wholly to blame, for the innocent party will bear the wound until he or she can find a way to release it - and forgiveness is the only way."

Christ is familiar with betrayal and disloyalty. He was rejected and mocked throughout His earthly ministry. Yet, finally, while dying on the cross, He could still utter the prayer, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). Christ is the author of forgiveness - a complete therapy formula.

In my own life, I constantly seek God for strength to apply Christ's therapy formula. I too experienced my share of being betrayed, hurt, and sinned against. When someone destroyed my trust and then used demands and control, it revealed this person's true heart. It reflected a lack of godly repentance. What then did I do? I released the offender and circumstance over to God and laid them at the foot of the cross. I took my hands off and pray.

However, I discovered one key truth: forgiveness doesn't mean I pretend the offense did not happen or was immaterial. It doesn't mean the offender should instantly be trusted or a friendship quickly restored. If I allow that, I would then be "enabling the sin," which is different from forgiveness. Christ teaches me to be willing to let go of resentment and the desire to seek revenge, and just let Him deal with the other person.

Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you' (Matthew 5:43-44).