Lately as I’ve contemplated God being my refuge, a thought came to mind.
Sometimes I make unforgiveness my refuge.
When I build a wall of bitterness between me and a person who has hurt me and may try to cause me pain again, I convince myself I’m safe; I’m protected; I won’t be hurt again.
But this isn’t God’s way. The truth is that when I turn to a false refuge to try to protect myself from hurt, I end up hurting more. One reason is I put a distance between me and my Lord when I seek refuge elsewhere.
When someone hurts me, God wants me to run to Him and pour my heart out to Him about that hurt.
Trust in him at all times…pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah Psalm 62:8 NIV
Earlier in that psalm God reminds me:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2
And even though I may experience pain again, when I trust God as my refuge it seems the hurt doesn’t go so deep. It’s as if God has put a cushion between me and the one who comes against me. When God is my refuge, hurtful words don’t seem so threatening. This verse comes to mind:
You will not fear…the arrow that flies by day…Psalm 91:5
The amazing thing that happens when God–instead of unforgiveness–is my refuge is that I begin to have compassion for the person who inflicts pain on me. Instead of being obsessed about how their bad behavior affects me, I see how it affects them and their relationship with God.
God’s love flows in me and through me.
Perhaps that’s the reason Jesus remained so loving. God was His refuge every moment of every day.
Jesus, unlike me, did not use unforgiveness as a refuge or a shelter. That’s why He could say–even from the cross:
“Father, forgive them. They know not what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Lord, today, make me more like Jesus. Let me trust You as my refuge. And should I step out from under Your shelter and seek refuge elsewhere such as in the fortress of unforgiveness, please call me back. Remind me of Your faithfulness, the safe haven You offer, the shelter You provide. Amen.
What about you? Are you seeking refuge in the fortress of unforgiveness? Do you have the courage to come out and return to seeking refuge in God instead? Doing so will allow His love to flow through you again. You will sense God’s mercy, and you will be able to pass it along—even to the one who is causing you pain.