People can lead me to feel inadequate, a failure and guilty, but I have to remind myself that these feelings are not from God. I must recall that while God does discipline me from time to time, it is not out of disgust or disapproval of me. Paul said it best: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..” (Romans 8:1, NIV). God does not hate me—-and I must not allow the hate of another person cause me to think I am “hate-worthy”.
So why do I let people make me feel bad? I know that this feeling of guilt moves me to want to “fix” whatever it is that I have been accused of breaking (and I have broken things and I should fix what I can). And I also know that as a gentleman I should replace/fix things I have shattered because of carelessness or clumsiness. I once read a book about about being a gentleman, and the author correctly stated, “If you break a piece of stemware at a dinner, you don’t ask your host if you can replace it, you find out where it came from, and you replace it.”
But when it comes to interactions and life with others, it’s foolhardy to let my heart be burdened by the shame others want to press down upon me. If I have sinned or erred, a true friend would tell me, in love, and I should confess my offense and life goes on—that’s how the Son of God told us to deal with hurt feelings. But there are some that won’t take “I am sorry” for an answer; they seem to want to nurture the hurt I’ve thoughtlessly inflicted.
And yes, I am also guilty of not accepting an apology at times. There’s a dark and demonic pleasure that comes from knowing that someone is “indebted to me” because of an offense they’ve committed, and I suppose it can makes me feel somehow spiritually superior because of this “sin” they’ve dispatched. But Jesus was clear: “Unless I forgive from the heart, I will not receive forgiveness”. There’s no two ways about it. I cannot hold a grudge or attempt to make another soul feel guilty unless I want the same back in life!
I must also not allow another to make me miserable, ashamed and down-trodden for an offense I may (or may not!) have committed. It’s important to show the offended that I am willing to take responsibility for my actions and to admit that I was wrong, but I can’t let them use that bad choice to rule or ruin my life. And similarly, I must let go of past hurts I’ve received and let God heal me and the ones that have wounded me—-if they would be healed.