2 Peter 2:19 (New International Version)
People are slaves to whatever has mastered them.
Psalm 146:7 (New International Version)
The Lord sets prisoners free.
If I find that I cannot get past a hurtful event, or if forgiving the person who offended me seems impossible, then I have made myself a prisoner of that relationship disappointment.
Note the wording: I have not made myself a prisoner of the person but of the relationship disappointment. My offender may have no wish to exert power over me or to see me suffer. Indeed, he or she may be unaware of my pain, may have moved on, or might even have died. Nevertheless, I suffer because I’ve attached myself to the relationship in an unhealthy way. I expected the relationship to answer an important need of mine and cannot get past the fact that it left me wanting. Perhaps I hoped for something but was denied; I trusted but was betrayed; I invested myself but felt cheated; I wanted to be loved and valued but was not affirmed, at least not to the degree I needed or demanded.
The core of my pain lies not in the person who hurt me but in my unmet need that still cries out—perhaps louder than ever—to be acknowledged and satisfied. Discovering and naming that unfulfilled need may be challenging but necessary before I can be free to forgive and move on from the offense.
What is your need that cries out to be fulfilled in a relationship that disappoints you? You may have to dig deep to discover it, peeling back layers like an onion, probing beneath anger or fear or pride to identify the good and legitimate need that craves satisfaction—safety, security, contentment, belonging, personal significance, authentic connection, spiritual fulfillment, love, pleasure, usefulness, purpose.
We are wise to realize that even our most devoted loved ones cannot satisfy all our needs. Ask God to help you identify those deep needs that seem to go unfulfilled in your relationships. Ask him to help you meet those needs so that you can move beyond relationship hurts and forgive those who have disappointed you.
FATHER, it is too easy for me to blame others when I am disappointed in a relationship. You know me better than anyone, better than I know myself. Help me to identify the longings in me that go unsatisfied even in my most intimate associations. Give me grace to acknowledge my legitimate human needs without shame or guilt. Teach me, Father, the path to finding my ultimate fulfillment in You.
Isaiah 58:11; Psalm 139:1-18
What deep human need continues to go unsatisfied in your relationships? How can God meet this need?