I recently shared on Twitter that I was embarking on a “Forgiveness Journey." This was inspired by my wonderful mother, who always knows best. She encouraged me to do this after I casually made a sly remark to her about someone who I had a conflict with over a year ago. She could sense the hurt that was still in my heart from what I tried to disguise a simple comment.
No, this post is not all about how wise my mom is. Although, I could do an entirely separate post about that.
I began keeping a journal. Every time an evil thought about someone would pop in my head, I would write their name down. Then, I'd go back and write everything they did that made me feel angry, sad, left out, etc. I ended up doing this with anyone, from the ex-boyfriend who cheated on me to the girl who left me out of plans freshman year. It was astonishing how many people I still had bitterness towards. I mean some of these people I hadn't spoken to in like 4+ years.
After identifying how they hurt me, I'd write out why I was choosing to forgive them, not why they deserve forgiveness. Because let's be honest, we all want to be forgiven. But the last thing I want to think about when I just revisited the time Chad from the baseball team pinched my side and called me “tubby" is the fact that he deserves forgiveness because Jesus forgave us.
I know it's true…But no thanks!
What I can realize is that I should forgive Chad from the baseball team, because I deserve it.
Sometimes I'd find myself walking in fear among specific groups of people because I knew they'd bring up someone who did me wrong. Often, people want to make sure you're okay after someone hurt you, but it just ends up becoming a sequel of what ticked you off in the first place. I felt as if I had to say something about that person. Like it was my duty to solidify what kind of person they were because of something they did to me (big or small). Confession: Sometimes I wouldn't even want to talk about them, but I definitely didn't want people to forget what they did to me (WHY??), so I'd talk about them anyways. What I realized is that there is a lot of pressure that comes from being THE judge of character for everyone, & it was a job I did not want anymore. Fortunately, I didn't have to hold this self-proclaimed title!
I mean, I had anger towards people I've spoken to, maybe once or twice. It positively was not affecting their day-to-day so why should I let it change mine?
I'm not saying there isn't a season to hurt and be angry. There is. Sometimes that process takes serious time.
When that season ends, however long it takes, you may notice a couple of things indicating it's time to let it go:
- When you begin talking about the person or the situation, you can't stop.
- You find yourself wondering if that person thinks certain things about you (good or bad).
- You've mentally planned out a 3 part series of how you would've stood up to them if you knew what you know now.
You could keep doing all those things, or you could have a million other things with your precious and valuable time. You could focus on the people in your life who treat you right. You could make new memories that will make the bad ones fade away. There are so many beautiful ways to forgive, and ultimately, move on.
They weren't thinking about you when they hurt you, and they're not thinking about you now. Someone's inability to see your value doesn't negate your worth. You deserve the love that person refused to give you. The opportunity to feel appreciated is all yours.
Forgive them for forgetting them.