Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A to Z Challenge: Forgive

My Internet connection is still kicking my behind, so I'm still not caught up. Oh well. I'm just going to keep going as best I can.

When it comes to lessons I learned in 2014, I don't think there's any one of them that I learned (or am still learning) than forgiveness.

It's a hard lesson. Especially given the amount of damage the people who betrayed me had done. My natural inclination is to fight back. Which means that if I can't fight back more than I already have, my natural inclination is to cling to my anger.

It's a bit of a defense mechanism too, I think. When I'm furious, I don't feel much beside the fury. Which means that I don't really experience the pain like I should. (More on this later, if the Internet holds.)

The thing is, while anger is a valid response, clinging to it is bad. I'm figuring any Christian knows that we're supposed to forgive. If for no other reason, then because we've been forgiven by God. I'm not focusing on this, though. This doesn't mean I see this fact as any less true. Instead, it's just because I've known this truth for most of my life.

Last year, though, when my anger took on physical manifestations like nausea, migraines, body aches and exhaustion, I realized that there's a reason why the Bible tells us not to let the sun set on our anger.

Simply put, it's just not good for us.

Last year, right in the midst of my situation with my publisher (which was pretty much the first step in a long line of crap events in the year.) I happened to see this quote on Twitter:

Holding on to anger is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die. 

Luckily it stuck, because as soon as I felt that poison working, I knew to purge it as fast as I could. The first thing I did was to find a way to get my anger out as fast as possible. (Writing is very effective at that.) Then, I've started focusing on forgiving the people who'd hurt me.

Not going to say it's easy. But at least now, I can write about all this without instantly feeling bitter about it. Which is saying a lot, because the temptation was certainly there.

Of course, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it alone. But God has a way of giving me supernatural strength of will when it's good for me. Which is another thing I learned. Praying for help in forgiving someone is probably the best way to get it done.

What about you? Have you gone about forgiving someone for hurting you? 


Anonymous said...

This is a very helpful post. The rat poison quote is truly effective and seeing exactly what holding on to hurts can do. As you attested, it causes physical pain as well. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is also a wonderful example of how we can't do it alone (forgive, that is). Asking God for help is the only way to truly let it go. Stopping by on the A-Z, Gail

betty said...

Sorry still about your Internet problems! I liked that quote you featured here, it is so true. I harbored bitterness against my mother in law about something she said about my mom YEARS ago. Bitterness I think is a byproduct of not forgiving someone. Sad thing is she passed back in 2011 and I wonder why I harbored the bitterness for so long. I did forgive someone else about something in my heart, never to them directly because of the circumstances, but it was freeing to do so and to pray for them, which helped me to forgive them.


V.L. Jennings said...

Forgiveness is a very hard thing- it's even harder when the other person doesn't believe you have forgiven them even when you already have.

Another thing to note is just because you have forgiven someone doesn't mean that you should keep letting them do whatever it was over and over again. There comes a point where you have to say no more. You can still have forgiven them and moved on and yet NOT continued a relationship.

Forgiveness does not mean the situation is right to jump back into ;)

Misha Gericke said...

Seezooeyrun The Hiding Place was such an inspirational read. I can't believe how much Corrie ten Boom survived and forgave.

Betty, it is strange how even something seemingly small can make bitterness fester. I guess that's why I'm so intent on forgiving for the big things. If the small ones can do so much damage, imagine what the big ones are capable of.

VL I agree with you. That's why my subject doesn't say forgive AND forget. I don't believe that forgetting is required. Forgiveness is something else entirely.