So easy to say but to do? Another matter completely. I was prompted to write this due to a few personal events that made me realise that I was still a novice in the school of forgiveness. I really wrestled with it and I saw that this issue of unforgiveness was really holding me back.
How do you forgive a person that sees no wrong in what they do?
How do you forgive someone who consistently does the same thing that bothers you?
How do you forgive someone who is not even aware that they have offended you?
Let's first start with being offended. An offence, to me is committed by a person that I hold in high regard. Put simply, someone who is not close to me cannot offend me. I feel an offence arises due to you expecting the other person to know what you dislike. This may not be the case for everyone but for me a relationship of a sort has to be in place before I can feel offended by what you do. I'm not talking about being annoyed or irritated about something a person does but being actually taken aback and offended.
We're told to voice our feelings and in any healthy relationship of any kind whether it be romantic or platonic one should be free to express how you feel. What if you do this and the person flat out refuses to accept their wrongdoing?
This is the exact part that I want to discuss in depth because it is here that unforgiveness can begin to creep in. Truth is you cannot force anyone to see their wrongdoings if they do not want to no matter how hard you try.You just end up wearing yourself out. In my quest to really understand and forgive completely I was reminded of the story of Joseph and his brothers; they did him dirty. Not just roll in the mud kind of dirty but a 'we want to murder you' kind of dirty (check out Genesis 37:20 ). Later on in life Joseph is opportuned to meet them again. What strikes me is that there was no trace of bitterness from Joseph. Like, none at all. How many of us can say we would do what he did and forgive the brothers and not feel any bitterness once we do see the brothers again? Hmm.
Truth is can we really call ourselves Christians when we struggle with the basic concept of forgiveness. I say basic because that is the least that God expects us to do. I realised that I have to address my issue with forgiveness.
It is incredibly hard to forgive especially when it seems as if you are always the one being the 'bigger person' . It is even harder when the other party does not acknowledge their wrongdoing but hey. guess what? We're still expected to forgive.
I have set myself back with my inability to forgive and the irony is that the other person moves on with their life and quite frankly does not care that you're bitter so really is it worth it? Nobody said forgiveness is easy and whoever says that is lying with a capital L but there is grace to forgive. Whilst we're at it can we not put scales to forgiveness and try and 'weigh' what can be forgiven and what can't? Who made us judge to do that? Nobody.
Forgiveness starts with being real with yourself and your feelings. Acknowledge the fact that you're hurt, bitter and upset. Don't be in denial. Let God know you're upset, He knows already but He wants you to realise that. Ask for grace to forgive-loads of it in fact and continue asking until you're drenched in grace from head to toe and then some.
Remember, God didn't give up on us for us to give up on others.