There are three sides to every story: your side, their side and what actually happened. It’s all in the perception of the people involved. I began writing on the subject of forgiveness by relating a blow by blow litany on how I felt I was mistreated by someone. The more I wrote, the more I scratched at the scab of healing. I had to stop because this is not supposed to be about “how I was offended.” No one really cares to know about sordid details anyway. This is about trying to get through the darkness to the light at the end of the tunnel of forgiveness.
When I was wronged I began a journal, writing down my daily conflicts with the person involved, how the actions were affecting me and how I could resolve the issues. Forgiveness was something I would not consider. But then I began to question whether God keeps an account of my trespasses. I hope not. So I stopped writing about the trials because I sure didn’t want God getting out His journal about me at the end of my life. About that same time a wise friend in retrospect conveyed to me that if Jesus hadn’t forgiven, He would have eaten the Last Supper alone. I knew at that point that my struggle to forgive had begun.
I don’t think forgiveness has to be a larger than life moment where you actually say to the person who offended you, “I forgive you,” while thunder claps, music swells and confetti falls. To me, it’s not about regaining a warm and fuzzy relationship with the person. I have come to the conclusion that it’s more of a quiet, personal letting go of the anger. It is something you do, not so much for the other person, as for yourself. It’s the ability to move on before everything that’s good and kind about you deteriorates from the poison of hate. You come to terms with yourself, wherein you decide that another person’s hurtful actions are not going to change who you are or what you stand for. You decide that you are not going to be manipulated into a backlash by their bad behavior.
Forgiveness is a process you have to develop and practice each and every day. It is hard work, and you may go back and forth several times before you come to grips with the matter. But when you do, a sense of peace will settle in, and your actions will emulate that tranquility.
It’s easy to become hardened and bitter when someone does something hurtful to you. I won’t downplay the pain, trauma and suffering you experience when you feel you were betrayed. I just ask you to take another look for your own sake. Forgiveness can be a positive resolution wherein you choose to leave the past behind in order to move forward into an amazing future.