Have you ever been hurt so deeply by someone, that you allowed hurt to camp in your heart? After all, you’re the victim and not the cause–so it’s alright–right? Well, that is an extremely dangerous practice! While we wallow in hurt, we think about the details of how and why this other person hurt us. While we stew, we don’t have sweet, generous and forgiving thoughts about the offender. We have sinful thoughts about our offender like revenge, retribution, retaliation, withholding our love, etc. This hurt leads us into a trap of bitterness. Bitterness is unforgiveness on steroids. Unforgiveness is a rottenness which infects us and prevents us from being close to God. Hurt masquerades as our friend and we welcome this enemy of God into the deepest recesses of our soul–to the place where only God and our closest friends reside. Suddenly, we wake up and realize that hurt has turned to anger. We realize that bitterness has invaded our soul and clouded our reality like a pair of foggy glasses. Wow! How much precious time will we waste living in the fog? We must clear the fog by asking God to forgive us. If we’ve retaliated against the offender, we must also seek their forgiveness–irrespective of whether they’ve apologized to us! We must change the way we handle hurt. When we are hurt, we must immediately give the hurt AND the offender to God. He is our truest Friend. Thus, to maintain our closeness to Him, we must immediately ask Him to forgive us for any evil we even THINK about the offender. Jesus said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15) God wants us close to Him! He offers to bear our burdens, including the burden of hurt. His Word says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 55:22) We CAN give it all to Him. We don’t need to hang onto what destroys our most precious Friendship and the joy of our soul!