Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Mystery of Forgiveness
To me resentment and unforgiveness are ironic mysteries that I can’t fathom.
What is it with us holding onto grudges as if they’re our life support system??
It bewilders me completely. The amount of times I’ve allowed my resentments to invade my thoughts and rob ME (not the ‘offender’) of peace and joy in life! I have pierced myself over and over and over again with the hurts that I’ve felt and continue to feel until my soul/heart is sore and bleeding. And then repeat it again another day!
Do we nurse or coddle or grudges as some sort of masochistic behaviour? Do we maybe use them as a means of self-punishment for our internal undealt-with guilt? Or do we think maybe if we stroke these hurts enough times, some unexplainable misery will befall the person we are angry with? Or perhaps if we allow them to fester enough, we will get the courage to somehow unleash our accrued anger on them?
Fortunately or unfortunately, in the most part, these things don’t happen to anyone but ourselves, and we are left, not only with the wounds of the initial “wrong” but all the wounds we have inflicted time and time again on ourselves as we have relived the painful moments.
Yet, even knowing the above and fully understanding the saying, “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die,” I still find forgiveness hard. Having just worked through a list of all the past hurts and verbally declaring forgiveness for each and every one, found it not an easy task which involved some tear-shedding and resistance, and I prayed for God’s strength and for Him to take my verbal declarations and make them complete, so that I may move on in freedom.
Some of the things that I listed I had conditioned myself to semi-forget – sometimes I have even convinced myself that it’s over – but then when a situation flares up later – they all come to the fore – so I knew I needed to actually make a point of ‘officially’ forgiving.
Nothing dramatic happened, but as my mind wanted to perform it’s habitual pickings at the stored hurts, it was GREAT to think – “I don’t have to do this anymore!” “I don’t need to endure the pain anymore!” For the hurts that attacked my dignity and self-worth – I can stop going into the rooms of shame and feelings of worthlessness that the recall of those experiences made present-day reality.
What an improved state of mind – for ME! – it’s my gift from God. No more chewing on festered, rotten ‘morsels.’ I can have FREEDOM – I can move on!
I can live in the present as it is now – I can stop being crushed by the heaviness that the reliving of the past carries with it. I can be free to be just ‘me’ – not ‘me + everything others have done to me.’ I also confessed all my wrongs and asked for forgiveness for them so also free of my guilt too!