Ever had someone that has hurt you so deeply that you become angry and bitter? That all you want to do is bring that event up and dwell on how that person has wronged you? I have had this experience a few times and years later I will feel bitter and angry towards this person, yet not remember the event that triggered that response. It seems that God is dealing with this issue with me right now and he is asking me to bless them.
Recently I was discussing a hurt someone had done to me with my mother and she told me "You are getting awful bitter about that. You need to bless her". But I did not want to bless her and I have gotten into this idea with praying and what I say, that if I do not truly mean it, then I should not say it/ pray it. But mom, in her wisdom told me that if I waited till I felt like blessing her, I would never do it, and she was right.
How am I supposed to bless them when THEY were the ones to hurt me. Shouldn't they have to pay, shouldn't they have to apologize, shouldn't they know the angst they have caused me? But then what have I done to them or others that I have not apologized for, what hurts have I caused, even if they were accidental.
So the next day that the thoughts of what had happen boiled up in me, I said "God I forgive her and bless her with your peace and love." A funny thing happen after that, I no longer felt quite the same hostility. I still hurt and was not sure how to interact around her, but some of the bitterness had gone away.
The next day that thoughts of what happen came up, it was even easier to say, and then I found myself praying blessings over her whenever I thought of her or saw her name. The fact that I had started to change by praying for her, not by feeling like my feelings were validated was amazing to me.
Shortly after this, I started a Bible Study with a friend's church on guess what topic, Total Forgiveness. We are working through "Total Forgiveness" by R.T. Kendall and this idea of blessing the person who has hurt you is brought up in the introduction. One of the verses that he discusses is Ephesians 4:30-32, "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." So if He can forgive the injustices I do to him, how can I not do the same? And is not blessing someone with the love and peace of Christ the most compassionate thing we can do?
So I challenge you to think of someone who has hurt you deeply, who you still feel anger and bitterness towards and say aloud "God I forgive them as you have forgiven me, I bless them with your love and peace" (or some version of this). And do this each time that you think about them or the situation, and over time I am sure that the anger and bitterness will leave.