i don’t think it is our nature to forgive each other. when someone does something to us we often times let their wrongs jerk around our emotions and perhaps affect our actions. i would go ahead and describe this as unforgiveness.
i think we can all understand why someone chooses not to forgive someone else for crossing them. how big or little- i think we can all sum the story of unforgivness up to “i understand”. i get that. if someone sexually crossed you as a child or your partner cheats on you-if someone takes the life of someone you love, accidentally or not, all those things are different levels of emotions that carry profound damage. totally understandable if forgiveness is not something extended to the other party.
i wonder though if we realized what it means to forgive, would we be more willing to do it?
someone once told me, “forgiveness is a choice” . i heard this and i thought to myself “yeah, i know that”. but i didn’t really know what this person was trying to convey to me.
i was dealing with terrible emotional distraught from someone who was supposed to love me, and take care of me. someone who was supposed to be a protector but instead damaged me in all ways. i hated them. this person broke me down mentally, hurt me physically, and crushed my spirit constantly. was this other person who had not been in my shoes been insisting i forgive this betrayer?
indeed they were suggesting just that.
i kept telling the confidante that i forgave the betrayer. yet every time i had to exchange words with this person or i talked about them-even being in the same room with them, i found myself immersing from deep embedded emotion that was only familiar in context of that individual. these unmovable emotions were telling signs that i had not forgave this person. my words did not match what was going on in the inside.
i saw someone on my facebook post a little inspirational thought. it said something like “the day you stop letting other people affect your life is the day your life will change”. this stuck with me because i was working on this post of unforgivness and i thought this was a good reflection of what your life is like before you forgive someone, and after.
i looked into what it meant to choose forgiveness. meaning, there were two choices-to forgive, or not forgive. and which ever one i chose i would experience either emotional freedom, which then boils over into my life or i could stay bitter, in emotional bondage and limit myself mentality and in reality. forgiveness is not a feeling nor is it an automatic extension of trust. instead it is a decision i make not let that person have control over any part of my emotions. the decision to forgive started the process, my mechanisms of coping would move this process along.
well when it was put like that i of course wanted to be free. also, choosing to forgive and extending that forgiveness was actually a gift to that other person. but first it was a gift to me from jesus christ.
throughout the good news, jesus suffered mockery of who he claimed to be. he performed miracles and literally gave all things he had (including himself) to get those to believe he was the son of God. he was willing to allow the will of god be carried out as he was crucified, all because he knew we were human and because of our sin we couldn’t recognize him.
yet, his last words on the cross were “father forgive them, for they do not know what they do”. (luke 23:34) jesus understood our human nature was to reject him, and he forgave for those things. he asked that we don’t get judged, but we are forgiven.
in the same way we are called to forgive others.
jesus knew our nature was to also be unforgiving or else he wouldn’t encourage us in his word to “forgive as the lord forgave you” (colossians 3:13).
jesus submitted forgiveness for the ultimate assault-murder. we have to find it in us to forgive others with the same grace.
the day we do that, is the day we decide to change our lives.