|Tulips, University of North Alabama|
There are days when I’m a little mad at the world, and a lot mad at things closer to home. Something will remind me of past hurt, one I think I’ve forgiven and gotten past, but then there it is, reaching out to slap me, giving me a vivid reminder to forgive again. Forgiveness is rarely easy. I’d really rather hang on to my grudge, nurse it, nurture it, slowwwly letting it go back to the land of forgiveness. That only hurts me because the offender has no clue I am still dealing with the after-effects of their actions.
Forgiveness is a tricky process, too. If you tell a person, “I forgive you,” their first response will normally be, “For what?” words that will sting like a slap in your face because while you struggled greatly in the battle of hurt vs forgiveness, you suddenly realize that the person who wounded you is oblivious to your pain and is living carefree and easy. You find yourself standing on the shore of unforgiveness with waves of bitterness lapping at your feet.
That’s when you get out of the sand
And back to the Rock.
Forgiving and Forgetting
Forgiveness, I am sure you know, is for you, not for the person who hurt you, who is unconcerned with your hurt and who caused it. To forgive is a decision we have to make, and rarely is it an easy one. But unforgiveness breeds bitterness, and bitterness produces resentment, hostility, and anger. It also gives you wrinkles! Most of all, bitterness is a venomous root that grows around your heart, choking the joy and life out of you, and it alienates you from God.
Forgetting is a different matter altogether because we really don’t have much control over what we remember. Memories of bad experiences are scars left behind when someone hurts you, especially if that person is someone you love. As Christians, we work through the forgiving process, but the scar can still serve as a battle tactic the enemy of your soul will use to thwart your journey to joy, to God’s rest and peace. We may not always think about it, but the memory is there, and one day you see or hear something that reminds you of what happened, and a flood of feelings can make you feel as if you’re drowning. You have to make the decision to forgive all over again, and the quicker you do that, the better. It’s like quicksand…the further you sink, the harder it is to get back to solid ground. The moment you find yourself lingering on an uninvited memory, remind yourself you have already forgiven that transgression, and choose not to lug that baggage back to Square One.
Here's one that can be the toughest of them all…forgive yourself. Since this post is already over 600 words, I will cover forgiving myself in another post.
Don’t let unforgiveness control you, and if you hang on to it, that is what it will do.
Make the choice to forgive so that you don’t end up back in The Pit.