A few years ago this was a big issue in my life. And although it was the hardest lesson I have yet to learn, it was the one that has made the biggest impact. I was hurt by some of the people I loved the most. The ones I thought would never do anything to break my trust. And the first thing I had to realize was that forgiveness does not, and will not ever just “happen” overnight. Even when I thought I had forgiven them, this uneasy, vengeance feeling came back; and I HATED this feeling. Especially when it came to feeling this way towards those I loved the most.
I also hated feeling as if I was stuck and could not move forward. I struggled with the true meaning of forgiveness for years and it was not until I became a little older (and hopefully wiser) that I realized a few things:
- Forgiveness does not mean I am “giving in.”
- In order to move on and start fresh, I need to forgive.
- I may not WANT to forgive, but I NEED to.
- And lastly, forgiveness is solely for me, not for the other person.
I went back and forth about these four things and started to realize that I am forgiving because I love them. And then I immediately started to think about God’s love and how he forgives me of all my sinful, wrong, and selfish actions. There’s a verse that until the day I die will remain my favorite. I also believe this verse got me through the hardest times in my life and allowed me to build back broken relationships.
Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
This verse really opened my eyes to the importance of forgiving one another. I started to think about how God forgives us without any questions. As much as we hurt him and let him down, he still remains faithful in us. So why should I question this? Why should I contemplate forgiving the ones I love? Yes, they hurt me. And yes they let me down. But what if I didn’t forgive them? What if my heavenly father didn’t forgive me? I think along with forgiveness comes second chances. And it became clear that’s what I needed to do. That’s what I needed to do in order to move on with my life and let this horrible feeling inside me go. That’s what I needed to feel free.
In the end I feel forgiveness, faith, love, happiness; they’re all part of the same circle. You can’t have one without the other. I am a true believer that the struggles make us stronger. I also believe God has a reason for everything. And in my situation he used my battles to teach me some of the most valuable life lessons that I will carry with me forever. And hopefully use my story to help others overcome forgiveness and realize just how important it is.
“You can't forgive without loving. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, 'I forgive. I'm finished with it.' --Maya Angelou
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