A long time ago, someone hurt me. Really hurt me – made me feel broken, shamed, useless, powerless and shattered every shred of trust I would have in people for years to come. I heard a message which said that I must forgive in order for God to forgive me my own sins. I embraced this and forgave. I forgave with no apology to hang it to. I forgave without any acknowledgement of pain caused. I just let go and forgave. I forgave with my whole, broken heart.
I also had to keep on forgiving, especially when the cruelties of the memory raised up and threatened to undermine my happinesses when I found them.
I knew the self-help psychobabble inside out – dont let past hurts steal future happiness, don’t allow people who’ve wronged you ‘free rent’ space in your head… and so for the most part, I moved on and sometimes even managed to forget for a while.
Time and space have afforded me a distance from that person which was good for us both. We were able to bumble on through our lives, seeing each other occassionally and actually getting on fine as if nothing ever happened – and that’s how it should be. True forgiveness should allow you, hand on heart, to look someone in the eye and love them as if they never hurt you in the first place. I was in that place and though I still wished I could have turned the clock back and erased the whole thing, I learned to live and accept and grow and stay healthy in my heart and mind towards them.
Forgiveness isn’t satisfying, gratifying, instant or conclusive.
Forgiveness is a conscious active decision and it is so until the day you die.
Forgiveness is to take up their heavy, dirty cross on your own weary, bleeding back though they spit on you and shout abuse in your ear.
Forgiveness is to turn the other cheek and again, and again, and again until you are numb and even then, more.
Forgiveness is to cover their wrongs, protect them from exposure, cushion them from anguish and relinquish your right to destroy their happiness with guilt.
Forgiveness hurts you in the short-term but brings you ultimate freedom.
“We teach our kids to say sorry and then they can expect forgiveness.” (Steve Biddulph) So how shameful it is that as adults we can harden our hearts to ‘sorry’ and whiten our knuckles as we grip to the offences made against us – like some shield of rights that permits us to stay angry! It’s like silent bullying: I will keep you ‘down’ in my mind to that I feel better about my own wrongs.
I thank God I don’t need anyone’s forgiveness but His. I thank God I am forgiven the very instant I repent. I thank God that HE believes in forgiveness and created this powerful force which is hand-in-hand with Love – His very core.
To forgive sometimes goes against every instinct and fibre in your hurting soul and yet the release of someone who has done wrong to you strengthens you in uncountable ways and certainly releases them in acknowledgment of their humanity. It’s OK – you’re only human. Terry Virgo’s book title is awesome: ‘God Knows Your Human’. But do we know each other are human too?????
I’ve heard people say ‘we’re most like God when we give’.
Actually, I think we are most like God when we forgive.