(originally posted on 15 Oct 2017)
Recently, I have been dealing with the need to forgive but feeling as if I have the inability to do so. And this is something I have struggled with all my life– it has always been difficult for me to forgive. I tend to hold grudges against others even though I know doing so is only harmful to myself. All my life I have been so quick to cut people out of my life for “doing me wrong” even in the slightest way. This used to be a quality I was proud to embody, never letting anyone walk all over me or treat me poorly. But now it’s a quality I want to shed, one I am trying to change. But it’s hard. It’s very hard. Forgiving people who have burnt you badly is never easy. As Kelly Pickler once said, “Forgiveness is such a simple word, but it’s so hard to do when you’ve been hurt.” But forgiveness is necessary. This is something I am slowly learning.
Last night I was doing some Bible study and the verse in my daily devotional was a verse from Colossians.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
That last sentence stuck out to me the most, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
This got me thinking and I was curious about similar versus in the Bible that also talk about forgiveness. One that particularly stuck out to me is a verse from Ephesians.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgive each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Something about those words hit my heart in a way nothing has ever hit my heart before. As I drove to work this morning this thought filled my mind, “If God can forgive us of our sins, mine included, no matter what act we commit then why can’t I forgive someone who’s done me wrong? If I feel as though I can’t forgive, that is like I am saying I am better than God.”
This was kind of like a reality check for me. I’ve spent so much energy on being upset, hurt, angry, and resentful that I have overlooked the fact that I am an imperfect sinner too. Although having all of these feelings after you’ve been hurt are valid and OKAY to have, you can not live in them.
Having this wake up call, this reality check, doesn’t all of a sudden make forgiving easy. It’s going to be hard no matter what. But it does make it easier. I know that I am not a perfect human. I have been selfish, told lies, and hurt others with my words and my attitude but still I have been forgiven.
If you cut off every single person who did you wrong there probably wouldn’t be anybody left. And I’m not saying to let people treat you poorly, sometimes it is necessary to remove certain people from your life, but not every one. When you choose to forgive someone you are releasing the chains that are holding YOU down. You become free. You take back control over your emotions towards that person and the situation that occurred. You’re able to move on with your life and be better instead of bitter.
I don’t have all the answers and I will never claim to! I just feel the need to always share what’s on my heart and today it was forgiveness. I’ll leave you with the quote written below and a question: Have you ever found yourself in the position when forgiving someone seems close to impossible but then you do it? You simply forgive them? If so, how did you feel once you gave forgiveness?
“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner