What About the Innocent?

When I was about 20 I was the victim of a crime. It happened more than 40 years ago and the incident rarely comes to mind anymore. I was an innocent victim and yet I live with the occasional remembrance of a traumatic experience perpetrated by someone else.

Have you ever been deeply hurt by the sinful choices of another person?

Maybe you are suffering right now with a profound personal pain inflicted by another. Have you ever been betrayed by someone you love, left to pick up the pieces of your shattered heart? Has a good friend or family member made sinful choices that destroyed your relationship? Were you physically or emotionally abused by someone you trusted? Has someone ever made poor financial decisions which had a direct effect on your security? You could have become an innocent victim at the hands of a stranger. Perhaps you can think of other ways you have been damaged by another person’s actions, left with a deep wound that you feel will never heal.

When things are done that cannot be undone, what healing and hope is there for those struck down in the wake of another’s sin?

God cares about each one of us and He wants to help us heal.

The most important thing to do is cry out to God with all of the strong feelings. You may be angry, fearful, or heartbroken. Or all three.

The God of Comfort will be with you as you process what has happened. 2 Cor. 1:3, Heb. 4:15

Lean into God. He is strong and will sustain you in your weakest moments. Psalm 145:14

Pray for God’s help to release your anger toward the person who hurt you. Ephesians 4:26

Ask God to impart justice to the one who victimized you. Don’t try to take your own revenge. Rom 12:19

Pray for God to remove the fear that you’ll never recover or that you’ll be hurt again. Psalm 34:4

In the New Testament Greek, the definition of forgiveness is “to let go or release”. Pray for God to help you let go of the offense. This is what enables you to forgive your offender. Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25. Jesus himself was betrayed by one of his closest friends. As He hung on the cross, He forgave those who crucified him. Luke 23:34

Trust God to bring good from what happened to you. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. God used that evil deed to bring good to Joseph’s family and the people of Egypt. Genesis 50:20

You will never forget what happened to you, but you can choose not to hold your offender’s sins against them. In my case, God called me to pray for the one who hurt me. Luke 6:27-28. It was one of the hardest things I had to do.  But it brought about the most healing for me. And I’m betting that it will do the same for you.

Nothing is wasted, friend. Your deepest pain can become your greatest story of love and forgiveness. And when the time is right, God will equip you to share your story with someone who needs to hear it. 2 Cor. 1:4

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Colossians 3:12-14 

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