“ …I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken-and I’d rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken places as long as I lived.” – Rhett Butler, Gone with the Wind
For a long, long, long time I struggled with forgiveness. I was okay with forgiveness in word, but in action- oh, it was a serious struggle. Now, for people who I had casual relationships with- colleagues, acquaintances, etc; forgiveness with them was less of an issue because I wasn’t as invested in the relationship. Unless they truly affected my day-to-day life, I shrugged off any situation where I felt that I was wronged. I wouldn’t necessarily try to repair the relationship, but I wasn’t extremely set on saving it. If it fixed itself it did, if it didn’t; that was fine also.
I think part of my struggle with forgiveness was rooted in the fact that I viewed it as magic. You know, I say that I forgive someone and it happens. I think it’s because we’re taught as kids that apologies fix things, which isn’t true. Apologies don’t change the hurt, especially if they don’t come from a sincere place.
If only it were magic. Forgiveness is a process. When you’ve truly been hurt, it takes time to get over the pain, and to let go of the feelings you have toward the person/thing that hurt you. I learned this the hard way. I had been hurt so deeply by someone that the ONLY way I got through it was by saying “I forgive you” every time I thought about that person. I had to literally talk myself into forgiveness. I had to change my mind about the situation. Changing my mind was the only way I could change my heart and truly forgive.
Though it’s been a process, I’ve learned how to really let things go, and appreciate the memories and the lessons. By asking God what it is that He would have for me to learn from these interactions, as well as learning to be more careful and guard my heart; I’ve been able to truly experience forgiveness in ways previously unknown to me. Being able to reflect on the memories without feeling captive to the hurt is such a freeing experience. I pray that you experience such freedom in your life.
Choosing to forgive and let it go is not a sign a weakness. I think that’s a common misconception; that a person who chooses to forgive is being a punk or being soft. But it requires great discipline and strength to truly forgive someone who has hurt you deeply. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. Anyone can fire off hatefulness fueled from their hurt feelings and disappointment caused at the hands of another. But to truly be able to walk in grace and love after being wronged, and to view that situation as a blessing? That requires strength and the power of God.
For this year, who do you need to forgive so that you can properly enjoy the memories, lessons, and blessings that God has provided through your experiences? You CAN let it go!
Peace and blessings!