I’ve spent some time lately thinking about forgiveness. I’ve never really considered myself as someone who holds on to a grudge, but if I’m being honest, I do have a few places in my life where forgiveness has challenged me.
I pray about it often and have read many verses about God’s will for us to forgive. I don’t mean just saying the words. I mean deep in your heart forgiveness and letting go of whatever transgression had you upset.
THAT is the forgiveness I’m talking about!
I’ve been hurt by people in my life. Haven’t we all! I find it fairly easy to let go of most things. Those well-intentioned, gone-wrong things that can happen. Things done not out of malice, but out of emotion or stress or just not thinking something through. Those are the things that are easy to slough off, especially if there is a true apology!
What I struggle with are those things that are knowingly said or done — with intent, no regret, no real attempt to change, excuse riddled, unapologetic disregard for another person or their feelings. Just thinking about those situations can get me riled up!
Jesus tells us to forgive — even those situations — fully! Not to just say the words “I forgive you”, but to let it go. Give up the hurt and be done with it. Not to say ok, then hold that issue over a person for the foreseeable future. It’s hard, and it takes true soul searching to do.
If I belief that God has forgiven my sins and I am redeemed through Christ Jesus — and I DO! — then I must learn to forgive others!
So, I consider my “situations”. Things that I have either pushed down somewhere (where I don’t have to deal with them), or things I feel I’ve let go of, and yet they pop back into my head from time to time. I’m not sure that the true forgiveness has happened there yet.
I am starting to realize two important things. First, not forgiving someone ends up hurting me, just as much if not more, that the person who I’ve not forgiven. They may not even care that I’m upset, or may not see the situation the same way I do. Second, forgiving doesn’t mean that I accept what was done as now being ok. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that our relationship becomes some wonderful thing afterwards. It just means that I let go of the hurt of that situation, and I don’t hold it against them any longer.
These realizations, and more importantly my relationship with Christ, are helping me to move along this journey. Slow, but steadily I will get there!