A post from my archives that I needed to read again…and again. Maybe, you too?
He doesn’t deserve my forgiveness! She did a terrible thing to me. Why should I forgive her? He hurt my feelings. She said horrible things.
Most of us in this life have had things happen to us that we feel we really don’t deserve. People have treated us poorly. They didn’t do what they should. They shouldn’t have done what they did.
I’ve heard myself say the words, “I will never forgive her for that”. She hurt me. She doesn’t “deserve” my forgiveness. I hate her.
With those words, the bitterness started to grow, like a vine around my heart. It was slowly choking out the ability to forgive. It was always there with me…like poison that I kept drinking–even though it hurt me.
The truth is that the “unforgiven” rarely suffer like the ones holding onto the bitterness. The one who demands payment for whatever sin was committed against them, suffers much more.
I can’t tell you the exact moment that, that changed for me. The moment I forgave her for the awful things she said about me. Things that weren’t true. My forgiveness wasn’t showy. As a matter of fact, she never even asked me for my forgiveness. She never begged me to forgive her. It was never like that. I don’t know that she even remembers what she said to begin with…….but, I did. So, I was the one to make the move. To forgive her. In my heart.
You know, when you forgive someone it is does not always mean that you “forget” what happened. Our minds don’t work that way. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting, forgiveness is about “letting it go” and moving on. Bitterness only hurts the one harboring it.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Dawn, does not get it. My hurt is too great. The offense too horrible. I cannot forgive. Ever.”
And you would be wrong. I do get it. I know. Believe me, I know. And you can forgive. It is a choice. Not easy, but definitely not impossible.
Like I said, forgiveness is not about giving something to the other person. (unless he/she asks) Forgiveness is about YOU being able to rid yourself of bitterness.
Most of you know me (especially those of you that have been reading my blog for a long time). If you were to meet me you’d see that I am a wife and mom. Teenagers can drive me nutty. I look sort of average. I like wearing tennis shoes. I shop at Walmart. I enjoy reading. I have a soft spot for dogs. I love my family. If I don’t get enough sleep I’m a bear. Sometimes I yell. Sometimes my sense of humor shines. Above all else I am a Christian.
The reason that I am able to forgive is NOT because I am special…because I am not. I am no different than you. The reason that I am able to forgive is because, you see, I am one of the forgiven. When Christ took my place and hung on that cross, He cried out, “Father, forgive them!” Christ knew that one day I would exist. That my heart would be dark with the feelings that it harbored. That even if I tried to be good, I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me. And yet, He forgave me. He didn’t have to. I surely didn’t deserve it. I didn’t even appreciate it.
Because God first forgave me, I am now able to show forgiveness to others.