It’s not always a compliment to be told, “You haven’t changed a bit!”
How do you respond to those who still see you as you once were? You have long moved on by submitting your heart to the Lord. You have held yourself accountable to others and actively worked to conform to Christ’s image. Yet, some people still see you from the filters of the past.
Quite often, this results from their woundedness and inability to move forward. Perhaps, there are remnants of unforgiveness, although you long ago made amends to the best of your ability. Guarding your heart against defensiveness and self-justification is crucial to walk in lasting healing. Remaining loving, setting boundaries while not building walls, keeping your heart teachable, and extending graciousness and kindness in such situations are all signs of a changed heart. If you embrace your new identity in Christ, which is born from a heart connection to God’s love and approval over you, you will find such encounters less jarring.
I made a deliberate choice over 40 years ago to no longer refer to myself as Kathy. I made that decision several years before that and always introduced myself as Katherine to new friends. However, I had a few hold-outs among my friends and family. Eventually, through gentle and not-so-gentle reminders, those who love and know me no longer think of me by my old nickname. The only exceptions are the elderly, and I give them a break!
I so wholly identify as Katherine or Kath that when someone calls to me using my old nickname, I look around to see where Kathy might be.
In the same way, I embrace my new names in Christ Jesus. I am Redeemed, Forgiven, Loved and the Daughter of the King. As I do so, I am slower to respond to the names the enemy of my soul once convinced me to accept as my identity.
What to do when someone refuses to forgive you.
- Apologise by taking full responsibility for your actions without blaming your circumstances or other people. Honestly state what steps you have taken to ensure such behaviours will not occur again. If at all possible, consider some form of restitution.
- Don’t chastise them for their unforgiveness. An apology is owning up to the damage you caused in another person’s life. Never demand a person to forgive you; only humbly ask for their forgiveness.
- Persevere! Continue showing love, concern, and a sincere desire to improve your relationship.
- Don’t hound that person with a constant barrage of emails, texts or phone calls asking them for forgiveness. If they have asked you not to contact them, then abide by their request.
- Share with a trusted friend or a spiritual advisor the struggle you have felt over this situation. Hold yourself accountable to them as you continue to walk away from the behaviour that caused the relational breach.
- Accept the Lord’s forgiveness, and continue to walk in forgiveness toward that person, even if they refuse to forgive. Allow the Lord to access your heart so He can heal the wounds their rejection caused.
- Never forget the lesson you learned through this experience. The painful consequences of our deliberate choices can be incredible teachers.
Remind yourself of who you are now because of Christ’s forgiveness. Through His grace, you are living a changed life. Live that life as a testimony to others! Embrace those who celebrate that changed life with you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Don’t let the enemy use people from your past to deceive you into thinking you are stuck carrying all the baggage from your past. Celebrate your testimony! Rejoice that your path has forever changed for the better!
Isaiah 43:18-19 – “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Until Next Week
©2022 Katherine Walden