Forgiveness: the toughest thing in the world to do
Anthony and I have started going to church again, and it was there that I heard a sermon that brought me to tears-- sobby, nasty tears. I don't really cry in church. Moving topics "move" me but they don't move me to tears. This one did. Like I said, sobby, nasty tears.
I've heard SO many lessons on the topic of forgiveness, but never have I heard one like this.
I'm a grudge carrier. I hoist grudges up on my shoulders; I raise them up on flag poles and wave them around. Sometimes, on my good days, I think that I've "forgiven" those that have wronged me. And I feel good about that. But sometimes.. when I'm alone and have the grand world of Facebook at my fingertips, I start stalking. It usually comes about through a friend of a friend of a friend that's still friends with an ex friend, but.. sometimes I just key in a few names into the search bar and have at it. Oh my, is this dangerous. It re-opens old wounds and prances around in them, reminding me of hurt, after hurt, after hurt. It's so not healthy.
But back to the sermon. Forgiveness: God's gift to us. Say whaa'? I thought it was God's/our gift to THEM. Nope, not so. God didn't want us carrying on to hurt and bitterness and all of the horrible things that go along with that. He wanted us to be able to let that go and be free from those entanglements. We do that through forgiveness. It's for us! It's not for them. It's for ME. So I can be free. So I can be happy. They don't have to know that they're forgiven. Forgiving them doesn't release them of judgment or repercussions... not at all. But it does release us from their stronghold.
Forgiveness is something good we do for ourselves. It's not welcoming them back to the relationship we once had, and it's not restoration.
There's more to this idea than my thoughts from a sermon I heard, but maybe it'll speak to someone else, too? I haven't forgiven everyone yet... In fact, I'm realizing every day someone else that has a tiny little grip on me. This is going to be a long, long process. But it's for ME, for my growth and freedom. Perhaps that will make it a little easier.