Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On forgiveness.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
-Ephesians 4:31-32
I've been thinking a lot about the subject of forgiveness. So many times we are told to forgive and forget, and more often than not, we hold grudges for months, years evens. It seems so much easier to hold the grudge, so much easier to sling mud at the offender and become the worst version of yourself without even realizing it. 
I've seen this a lot lately, and it's saddening. I've done it myself; I've held some of the worst grudges. I've held grudges against people who didn't even deserve it. I hate that side of me. The side that is so angry that not even a single apologetic word can right the wrongs. 
The thing with this is, though, Jesus didn't hold grudges. There were a lot of obstacles in His path and yet He never complained, He never scorned those who were against Him. And I think we could all take a lesson out of His book. (Ha...ha...) 
I've said this a lot, and I absolutely live by this now, but I once read that if you hold a grudge against someone, if they wronged you in the worst way imaginable, and yet you can't seem to forgive them, you are only holding yourself to a higher standard than Christ. ...It seems wrong, doesn't it? Because it is. Jesus forgives every single one of us. No matter what we do, no matter where we've been, no matter what we did last weekend - He forgives us no matter what. And you, a mere human, can't seem to forgive someone who admitted making mistakes? Maybe even they apologized, and yet, you still hold onto the anger and frustration. I mean, who can truly blame you? But here's the thing - God has already forgiven them, so why can't you?

I struggle with this daily. Something goes wrong and I immediately look for someone to blame.
In high school, I dated an ex-boyfriend of one of my friends, which is like, ultimate girl code no no, and you know what? She forgave me. Because she has the most genuine Christ-like love. I wish people were more prone to do this; to forgive each other. To forgive those closest to them for doing them wrong. To forgive those that they hardly even know when things don't go your way and you're looking to place blame. And let's be honest, I wish folks would be more willing to forgive the government because holy crow, those guys don't seem to know what they are doing right now. ...But really.

Jesus forgave me for dating my best friend's ex. He forgave me for my indiscretions and for all those times I was in places and situations I really shouldn't have been in. He forgave me for those years when I shunned Him, when I let darkness and sadness overcome my life.
That's the great thing about Jesus. He's always there, helping us through the rough times in life.
He's there for us when that angry side comes out and all we want to do is say bad words and mean things about another person. He's there when we don't want to forgive those that hurt us more than we imagined they could. It's hard to forgive. It's actually really freaking awful when you don't want to let go of the hurt. But at some point, we have to realize that the hurt only hinders us.
Forgiveness starts with ourselves. It starts with saying, "hey, I've made mistakes. And if God can forgive you, I can, too."

It seems so simple, doesn't it?
I'm working on this daily. Praying for peace in certain situations, hoping for a calm heart so I can deal with those who make me mad (and for real - those who are seriously crazy sometimes are really hard to forgive).  I like to think that if we are to grow in our relationship with Christ, to know Christ-like love, there is no separation from forgiving others. They go hand in hand. To love and be loved, we must first forgive as Christ forgave us.
So, who's up for the challenge of learning to forgive more, and to be genuine in our forgiveness? To extend Christ-like love in all circumstances, the good and the bad?
I'm in. I hope you are, too.


  1. Ouch. Serious punch in the gut. I've been struggling with this so much lately, in regards to one particular person. You know, the one I joked about hitting with my car (see? struggling!)? I probably pray about that more than anything else, because it doesn't even feel like it's in my control. I WANT to forgive her, genuinely, but it just.won't.come. I think it makes it so much harder because she just acts like she didn't do anything wrong--Tyler and I saw her in Toys R' US the other day, and she looked right at us and said perkily, "Hi, guys!" Seriously? She's never apologized, or even acknowledged any wrongdoing whatsoever. I know that shouldn't be an excuse, and it really isn't--I need to forgive her regardless of whether she ever owns up to it or not. One of my friends tweeted this the other day, and it's stuck with me, "Turning the other cheek is partly about loving your enemy, and partly about protecting you from getting entangled with them." I'm working on it, but man, it has never been this hard before.

    1. I've certainly been there, and I still struggle with this!! Also? How weird is it that the girl has never apologized? And that you keep running into her? I just find that so strange! I like the tweet from your friend, though. It's hard turning the other cheek, and as I read last night, how many times do we turn our cheek before we stand up for ourselves? But I think it's more than that - I do think that turning your cheek/forgiving is a mature response in some situations. I don't know - it's such a tough subject!

  2. "if they wronged you in the worst way imaginable, and yet you can't seem to forgive them, you are only holding yourself to a higher standard than Christ"

    Yikes. That is seriously a great sentence...and an amazing way to look at it! I think for me it's hard to forgive certain circumstances--but I know that I need to. Women are so emotional and hold on to things for so long, it takes a lot of prayer to let go of certain things--but I think it's worth the effort.

    1. That was taken from a book I read a few years back and it's just stuck with me ever since! It definitely shook up my perspective of forgiveness, that's for sure.