This week I chose forgiveness…
It goes like this…
Most people, most of the time, are doing the best that they can.
As simple as it was, this mantra reminded me of the most unflattering parts I had played; the times I had shunned -or even worse, led others on- because I didn’t want to reveal my true feelings at the risk of hurting theirs. Only to later, abandon them completely without even a word of explanation.
The times where someone I loved, hurt me so deeply that I ‘got even’ in a way that bordered on betrayal… The things I let myself do when I was young and ‘in love’… the decisions I made because I ‘wanted to be accepted’ …
And when I took a good look at my life, I saw that most of the time, I was doing the best that I could.
It also helped me to see that the boy who stole my heart, and lied to me endlessly (even down to his flippin’ name!) was also dealing with an abundant amount of pressure from the starry eyed girl, with big dreams, and even higher expectations! The pressure I put on him to be something that he wasn’t!
It helped me forgive the friend who had seemingly abandoned me in my moment of desperation -because looking back, I can now see that I failed to acknowledge that my circumstances were flooding her with painful memories of when, she too experienced a similar situation years before.
That the family member who never seems to understand the deep-seated hurt I’ve harbored towards them, couldn’t possibly grasp the immensity of how I feel – not because they don’t believe the feelings to be real – but because I have never once attempted to articulate it to them!
Looking back, I found it to be true…
Most people, most of the time, were doing the best that they could..
It doesn’t make what they’ve done ok, it helps me to forgive.
It doesn’t give them an excuse for their actions, it gives me a better understanding!
And after months of looking at the past through that lens, I could feel God calling me to forgive;
To forgive, even in the absence of an apology.
He went even further by pressing me to apologize! To ask forgiveness from someone that I had sought to forgive myself!
So this last week, after a handful of sleepless nights and a few long, drawn out prayer sessions – where it’s quite plausible that I begged God with all-that-I-had to reconsider! – I did decide to step out and own the hurts I had inflicted.
In the end, my heartfelt request for forgiveness would be accepted; but I would not get an apology back.
Even still, I could clearly hear the Lord asking me to forgive anyway…
And so, I took full ownership for what I had done – without making excuses or pointing fingers – and worked hard to not expect anything in return. I didn’t get answers, nor did I ask for them. I still don’t understand why, and have little hope that I ever will…
But the Lord never wavered,
After I had finished the job at hand, I fully expected to see God looking down at me with a twinkle in his eye, exclaiming, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”, and leaning in to give me a congratulatory smack me on the rear as I exited the game.
Yet instead, the Lord crouched down next to me, tears in His eyes and thoughts of my childhood heavy on His heart;
Thoughts of the little girl who felt the pangs of betrayal, long before the butterflies of a first kiss. The girl who came far too close to giving up on Santa, role models, and daddies at nearly all the same time, and who would learn what it felt like to be truly rejected at the age when most kids, only understood it to mean getting picked last for the kickball team.
The very thought had my knees on the verge of giving out, and my heart ablaze in the hollowness of my chest.
How could I have forgotten…
There was still someone very significant left to forgive! A person rooted DEEP in my past, and unmistakably GUILTY.
I looked up to find His eyes gentle and full of understanding; knowing that nothing could erase those years of turmoil, or could possibly mend that little girl’s broken heart. Yet, even still, The Lord lovingly whispered,
Forgive them anyway…“
And so it would seem, that this weeks lesson in forgiveness, has only been a practice session…
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.