Thursday, April 4, 2013

Forgiveness begins with me

I have a firm belief that we are the kindest to those around us (generally speaking) whom we do not know well.  "Put your game face on", "Protect yourself".  I believe it's about self-preservation as well as insecurity as to what others might think of us.

I have found in the last 17 years though being a wife and a parent that the ones who matter most are the ones we are closest to.  We do not choose our blood relatives, but when it comes down to the wire, blood really is thicker than water.  I realize by breaching this topic, others may not agree and have chosen "alternative families".  I am not judging or condemning that.  I am simply stating that kindness begins with us and those who reside in our inner circle.  If we are unkind to family members, how genuine is our kindness to others?  I find it difficult sometimes to be kind every second of every hour of every day to my family because they are always around.

I think forgiveness on our part is something everyone is worthy of.  But we must practice it with those closest to us so that we can extend that great love to others.

We tend to be the harshest and most judgmental about our family members; knowing their weaknesses, seeing them often, perhaps blaming them for our character flaws because we are related to them and there may be past wounds that have yet to heal.

I believe that if we cannot truly forgive our family, we will have a much more difficult time forgiving others.

I simply ask and challenge you to have the courage to forgive those around you.  This begins with an honest look at what part you may have played in contributing to the (perhaps) fragile state of your relationship.  There are always three sides to every story: My side, your side, and the truth.  We all live in some form of altered reality and tell ourselves what we want to hear.

There are people I have absolutely no desire to allow into my life because of past experiences, but if I allow hatred, bitterness, or anger to dictate my actions, I am the one who pays the ultimate price.

Try to fix what you can: first in your own family relationships, then branching out to others.  When we have wronged someone, we should be honest about it.  I've always said that just because you've been hit by a train, doesn't mean you have to stand on the tracks waiting for it to happen again, but does that mean that if we see that same person who ran us over on those tracks, we should not try and help?  I believe true forgiveness is honesty, clarity, and compassion; even empathy.

You may not have the chance for closure on past relationships, but knowing you've done all you can and that you have truly forgiven: you are absolved and it no longer has anything to do with you.

Our biggest mistake (especially as women- but across the board) is holding on to what others have done and not accepting responsibility freely for our part.  I believe that in only concentrating on our part in a falling out, a hurt, a judgement, we have absolved ourselves of any wrong doing (in our heads).

We also justify our anger by blaming others for what they have done to us.  This is merely deflection and has no barring on our ability to forgive and move forward.

I think we have three main reasons we are angry at others:

1. They did something valid that hurt us or a loved one.
2. They did something that perhaps reminds us of past or current weaknesses in our own lives and deflecting that onto someone else is easier than dealing with the fact that we are not perfect.
3. We so badly want to believe we have done "the lesser wrong" and hold on to that anger in order to justify our own behavior.

Forgiveness is not easy.  Pride gets in our way too often; and so do other people.  We listen to idle gossip, we participate in it, we blame others for our own mistakes, we lie to ourselves justifying our own behavior, and on and on.

Being with my family this week helped me realize that it's the most difficult to be the kindest and most forgiving of those closest to us.  Have I been hurt?  Of course.  Does that mean I cannot forgive?  Absolutely not.  Am I to blame if I cannot forgive or hold a grudge?  Yes.  Is it my responsibility to try my upmost to right a wrong?  Without question.

Forgiveness is about us (and I personally believe that my Savior- Jesus Christ has a huge part in giving my anguish to Him).  Forgiveness doesn't have to be a two-way street, but we must be sure that our path is clear and no hazards lie in our way of letting things go.

Forgiveness is a choice, just like every other thing we deal with in life.  I am not saying that depression, homosexuality, addiction, illness, or any of the other things we deal with as human beings are choices...but how we deal with those things in our lives is a choice.  We can either have a positive attitude or a negative one.  That IS our choice.  Agency is a huge part of our accountability.  We can make our own choices.  We can CHOOSE to react with negativity or with kindness.

I grow weary of the plight: you hurt me and my anger is justified.  Seriously?  There comes a time when everyone must drop it, let it go, give it to the Savior, whatever your process is so that it no longer weighs you down into the gulf of misery and endless woe.

I truly believe "justified anger" is a tool that is used to bog us down.  We can either lift the weight, or keep it on top of us crying that this huge weight is there and that's why we are bitter, angry, vengeful, and all sorts of other things.

I will simply conclude with a short experience (yep- putting something very personal out there).  I was viciously attacked by someone with no courage.  They attempted to cause discord, ruin my reputation and standing, and who knows what else.  I cannot begin to imagine the kind of darkness that must dwell in the heart of the person who attacked my character.  I was most fortunate to have a very supportive family as well as supportive people who were the recipients of this "attack".  I put it in quotes because really, it was desperate.  It was vengeful.  That affects their hearts in the end, but it doesn't have to affect mine.  Unqualified accusations and attacks on my character make me sad.  But I am even more saddened by whomever would choose to go to such great lengths to "try" and ruin my reputation as a blogger, a mother, a wife, a person.

Whoever you are...I forgive you.  My heart truly breaks for your anger and sorrow.  Your attempts to try and ruin anything in my life were futile and unfounded.  I pray for you.  I truly cannot understand such vindictiveness; it's truly beyond my comprehension.  Perhaps, one day, if I have chosen the wrong path, I will be able to have empathy, but as of now I only have sympathy for your desperate actions.

Forgiveness begins with me and ends with me.  I will always love.  I do not hate one person in this world.  I may disagree, be a little sore from wounds inflicted, or wander with a lack of understanding; but I am truly grateful that HATE does not reside in my heart and pray it never will.

My two cents

1 comment:

O_o said...

great post! I always have a hard time remembering this.