It is ironic that I find myself writing about forgiveness when I just watched a television show about revenge. The new breakout series from ABC "Revenge" had me on the edge of my seat. I ate popcorn and watched episodes on Netflix. I even found myself rooting for the shows main character Emily Thorne as she went on a quest to take down those that caused so much pain and suffering in her life.
And then long after the credits rolled and I powered off the television, I thought about how much time and energy it requires to make your life's mission revenge against another person. It takes a lot of energy that can be directed to positive things rather than a pursuit that requires you to dig two graves.
Forgiving is hard. A heart that forgives requires more stamina and strength than bending wrought iron with your bare hands. But in the process you set free the prisoner that was yourself. There is nothing more liberating than forgiving someone who has done you wrong. It is not for them, it is for you. Don't waste your time thinking about revenge because God says vengeance is his.
I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately. I was spending some time with a new friend and we were talking about our lives. I began sharing a little bit about my life with my new friend. When I finished talking she was visibly angry, pissed off is more like it. My friend took on my pain in a way that only someone with true empathy could. For a moment she allowed herself to walk in my shoes. She felt everything I was describing as if it happened to her. I saw her frown and then her eyes welled up with tears.
She asked me how could I be so calm and so forgiving to those who have wronged me and impacted my life in such a negative way and I told her that I did not want to waste my life being angry and bitter at people.
Forgiving someone does not mean you automatically feel better. At times when I cross paths with those who have plotted against me, lied on me, smiled in my face and took a machete to my back, it still stings. You can forgive, but forgetting is like trying to vacuum your mind. People toss around the phrase forgive and forget like its a frisbee, but in reality sometimes you never forget. It is ok to be angry, sad or whatever emotion emotion you feel. You have to sit with it for a moment and own that feeling before you can release it and let it go.
How can you forgive when it hurts so bad? Imagine trusting someone with your life and then they try to take it from you? Sharing dreams and secrets and they use it against you? Or they wipe their feet on your heart? Or worst of all, they give you the Judas kiss, which is the ultimate act of betrayal. What do you do?
Have you ever had to forgive someone who hurt you so deeply that you thought you would never heal?
A heart that forgives is a heart that lives...