Wednesday, March 5, 2014
To Forgive, Divine
In church on Sunday, someone made the comment that we are in one of three places-- about to go into a crisis; in a crisis; or just coming out of a crisis. As I look back at my life, I realize this is true. It's not a bad thing, really. None of us get a life filled with sunshine and rainbows. Oh, the sunshine is there, as are the rainbows, but they aren't constant. Nor would we want them to be. Life is about growth, and growth requires trials.
For me, I'm 'just coming out of crisis'. It was hard. It was heart-wrenching. It kept me down for weeks where I wanted nothing more than my bed, a box of tissues and the tv remote. I did not feel courageous. I felt weak, alone and angry.
Angry because someone hurt me. They reached into my heart and used my greatest vulnerabilities and crushed me with them. They knew very well how this would hurt me, yet did it anyway. I was hurt and angry. The anger burned in me and I held onto its warmth like a security blanket. I cried and yelled and threw my hurt at them like darts,trying to return the favor.
I cried and prayed for relief. I knew what would make it better, but, when the healing balm was offered, I turned away from it. Forgive? I could not. I would not. Not yet. I needed to hurt a while longer.
Then, one day, I realized what I was doing. Holding onto the pain, caressing it, encouraging it to grow and burn inside me. I was curled up on my bed, the house was a mess, my kids ignored, writing? what was that? I was denying myself life. Life, with my beautiful children, my loving husband, my friends, my gifts--I had shoved them into a closet while I plunged myself into my own despair.
And, I realized, the choice was mine. The person who hurt me had made a choice and I couldn't change that. They were sorry. Sorry enough? It was not for me to decide. I have no control over them. What I do have control over is me. I knew that there was one thing to do.
"We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in. As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience." (Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
I sat down and told this person that I forgave them. I said I was tired of being unhappy and depressed. I wasn't sure if I could just choose to walk away from my despair, but I was going to try.
"Healing comes when we move away from the darkness and walk toward the hope of a brighter light." (Pres. Uchtdorf)
So, I did. I got off my bed. I cleaned my house. I paid attention to my kids and my husband. I read scriptures and I began to write again. In the words of a very popular song, I let it go.
"It can be very difficult to forgive someone the harm they’ve done us, but when we do, we open ourselves up to a better future. No longer does someone else’s wrongdoing control our course. When we forgive others, it frees us to choose how we will live our own lives. Forgiveness means that problems of the past no longer dictate our destinies, and we can focus on the future with God’s love in our hearts." (David E. Sorenson)
Once I forgave, I discovered something. My feelings for this person changed. Not that they were harsh or resentful, quite the opposite. My feelings for them became more tender. This surprised me, but gave me something to think about. That perhaps that is what happens when we repent and are forgiven. Perhaps our Father in Heaven's feelings for us become that much stronger and tender. While sinning can separate us from Him, the act of kneeling and asking for his loving kindness actually brings us closer to Him. We can bridge the gap ourselves, because He never holds onto hurt or grudges. He is always, always, willing to forgive. Again, our the choice is ours.
Forgiveness truly is a healing balm, it mends broken hearts and erases pain. But, it is always our choice, whether we are asking for it, or giving it.
"And, be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." -Ephesians 4:32
(This post was written from my request on facebook for topic suggestions. If you have a suggestion, you can leave it in the comments, or email me.)