Forgiveness: The Real F word.
“Be comfortable with not sharing your side of the story. God saw it all.” @realtalkkim
Deep breath in. Man…it’s hard sometimes isn’t it? It is so tempting to want to defend yourself. To tell your side of the story. It almost feels unjust to keep your mouth closed when you know that what someone else is telling or what others are believing is a skewed perspective.
My dear friend, let’s talk about forgiveness for a minute. I see that struggle. I know that the very word “forgiveness” can cause pain deep in your chest. Or maybe it causes offense and rage. I can almost hear, “But you don’t know what they did to me!” No, I don’t…but God does.
Forgiveness isn’t saying that what they did to you is ok. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t unjust or undeserved. Forgiving in your own heart actually isn’t even just for the other person.
It is for YOU.
I firmly believe that forgiveness frees you and postures your life to be in step with the Lord.
This allows you to live free from the crushing pain you feel. It allows you to be free of the weight of the situation. Forgiveness allows peace in your heart. It causes you to move forward and not carry your hurts into other relationships.
Forgiveness begins as a choice. A simple “I forgive them.” You may not feel it in your emotions. You may have to continue to choose forgiveness. You may be struggling with reliving hurts again and again and again. I encourage you to determine in your heart that you will continue to let it go. That you will choose forgiveness even if others don’t.
I specifically remember a time when dealing with my father’s addiction. He had told a family member how unfair we were treating him; how terrible we were to “abandon” him. He was playing the victim card in order to amass compassion and have people choose his “side.” He had a way of playing on emotions and spinning a story to fit his narrative. He had left out major parts of the story (Isn’t that how it goes??). When the family member confronted me, it was tough not to defend our actions. This person had no idea what we had put up with…what we had lived through. The literal hell that his addictive behaviors put his family through was affecting every part of our lives. I felt numb and angry, but I managed to kindly say, “Please know there are two sides to the story.” And then I walked away.
Transparent Moment Here:
I wrestled with forgiving my father for a lot of years. But I finally have. (You may have already read about that in “Dear Dad”) Forgiveness was a struggle and I don’t want to make light of that. I know it can be really hard for your heart to finally let go. But it is possible. Let forgiveness be your goal so you can be free.
And follow up to that story. It took a little time, but that family member saw what we had dealt with. They did learn the truth. They experienced the toxic behavior for themselves. I didn’t have to wave his stuff around. I just had to continue to move forward and trust the Lord so that I could heal in the best way I knew how.
So that’s what I continue to choose to do when I deal with wrongs or betrayals in life. And if you want to see where your own heart is, then see how you feel when things come full circle and those who were angry with you now humbly say, “I get it now.” Do you want to say, “Haha, told you so!,” or are you gracious to them because you know what that pain feels like? (Hint: offer grace. You never know when you will need it back)
So keep moving forward dear one. Keep your heart clean and your head high. Don’t let unforgiveness hold you back. Fight forward.