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“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well” according to the modern dictionary.
Many struggle with this concept. Frankly it’s hard to do. It took my whole life to get to this point. I am still evolving.
For many years it seemed that I was the one who always got dumped on by people I loved and I trusted. If I am honest, I had worn the victim hat due my early childhood experiences and my early adult experiences. I didn’t realize at the time that this was what I was projecting even though on the outside I appear to be very powerful and strong. of course once people got to know that I am really a nice person and perceive any area of weakness, they begin to take advantage of me. I am still nice but I have developed very strict boundaries about who I allow into my life and how much access to give certain people into certain areas of my life. It is still a work in progress.
It may not have been obvious to me why similar situations kept repeating like a broken record, but the same things kept happening to me. A friend would betray me, a family member would hurt me. A co-worker would throw me under the bus etc. Even so, I was always the quickest to forgive and make peace with my offender. I wasn’t easily walked over either. Oh no! I would tell you off in a heartbeat if you crossed me and then I would quickly make peace. I don’t know when I started holding my mouth and holding unto hurt or grudges but it happened gradually over time. I think when you get older, you tend to try to be polite and not speak about how you really feel about a situation and often times, it eats us up on the inside.
Do you notice how little kids will tell you the truth about how they feel about anything without filters? If you ask a typical 4 year old how they like the outfit you are wearing, you are likely to get the truth about whether it looks ugly or nice. But if you ask your significant other or your best friend, they may lie and tell you that you look incredibly good!
So what happened? Why do we bite our tongues and hold unto grudges when someone hurts us? Why do we let it eat us up on the inside? Why is it that people that hurt us never admit to being wrong? Even when they do unspeakable things. Is it me or is this one of the reasons why people find it hard to forgive people who hurt them? Even if someone who hurt you never apologizes, why do you want an apology before you can forgive the offense?
I am glad I have finally come to terms with this. Slowly but surely, I realize that it is not about them, but it is how I react to the offense that matters. Spiritually, I have come to realize that the perpetrator often times doesn’t know why they do what they do. Like Jesus famously said on the cross, “Father, Forgive them for they know not what they are doing” You have to look beyond the offender and pray against what is controlling the behavior of the offender. I prayed earnestly over the years for God to heal me and for him to help me to forgive those who hurt me and I actually handed them over to God and got on with my life. An avalanche of blessings came raining down and call me selfish, but I would rather the blessings than harboring feelings of hurt and holding unto grudges.
I feel lighter, better, happier, stronger, richer. Sometimes people come back to say they are sorry and sometimes they don’t. Forgive them anyway. It’s for you not for them.
I hope and pray you can. Be blessed & Forgive.
Yours in Love and Truth,