Today was a bit difficult for me and caused me to think about some of the experiences we encounter as we go through this life.
If you don’t mind, I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you. Like many people, I write as an outlet because it allows me to get toxic thoughts and emotions out of my system. Well, today certainly fits the bill.
After having a particularly difficult conversation with a very close friend, I found myself pondering the meaning of unconditional love and just how unconditional that love should be.
Are we really expected to love like God loves? Are we capable of completely removing our personal feelings from a hurtful situation once we accept an apology? Where does our need to protect ourselves end and where does our acceptance of another human being’s faults begin?
By the grace of God, I’ve gained more wisdom, discernment, compassion, and empathy over the years. However, there are days like today where I question just how far I’ve really come.
Have you ever had a friend who really hurt you and for one reason or another, you just couldn’t get past it? You accepted their apology, or so you said you did, yet you began to feed them with a long-handled spoon. Did you really forgive them? Did you really accept the apology? Why did you say you did if you didn’t? Why not just say, I’m not ready to forgive you?
How often do we proudly say we forgive someone and in the same breath, say we won’t forget what they did to us? Is that how God works?
I don’t think so.
I think we choose not to forget because we want to protect ourselves. We’re human and we don’t like pain or to feel vulnerable to the potential actions of another person. As long as we remind ourselves of what this person did to us, then somehow we can prevent them from ever hurting us again.
The bible says in Matthew 6:14-15New International Version (NIV)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I often say to myself, “Wow, if God operated like we do, a lot of us would be in some big trouble.” Think about it, we do things every day for which we must ask God’s forgiveness and He covers us with His grace. He clears the slate and allows us to start again.
Most of us would feel terrible if we thought God was keeping score of all the “not so positive” things we’ve done.
So why do we feel so justified in holding another person’s transgressions over their heads as if we’ve never done anything wrong?
I think many of us are so afraid of being used, hurt, or betrayed for a second time around, that we sentence the offender to a lifetime of side eyes and mistrust. No pointing fingers here, I struggle with this type of thinking too.
Today was an aha moment for me. I was so focused on what my friend did that I missed the fact that they were honest about their feelings and respected me enough to admit they were wrong. They made a mistake, they apologized, and I accepted.
But I realized that I only half-heartedly accepted, mostly out of some perceived obligation of being a friend. Deep down, I was still angry and resentful. I needed clarification, so I prayed about it.
I want to share with you what God placed on my heart because some of you might be going through the same or a similar situation.
Whole-hearted forgiveness is a huge task and a not so easy one to accomplish. Instead of trying to figure it out and forecast the future, I decided to give this thing to God. Maybe you can too.
Here is my prayer,
God, I do not know what to do or how to handle what has happened between (insert name) and I. I desire to love unconditionally as you have loved me. I surrender this relationship to you and your will. I know that whatever your will, it will be for my good and the good of your kingdom.
I hope this helps you or someone you may know.
Are you struggling to forgive? Let’s talk about it.
Until next time,
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