Hi everyone! As I promised earlier, this is the continuation of the previous post. If you have not read that yet, here’s your chance. I got a lot of feedback from the previous post and I am glad it was a blessing and food for thought to many.
I had a conversation with another friend and asked what she thought about forgiveness. She said: “it is supposed to be a thing of healing for us Christians but sometimes I feel like it puts us in the weak position. The Bible says vengeance is the Lord’s but I don’t see him doing any of that after I forgive people.”
I had a similar conversation, with yet another friend. This friend didn’t readily admit to expecting God to do something negative to his offender. He explained to me how he kept seeing those who had offended him, happily enjoying life. He would then think to himself, ‘Ei, God! So don’t you care about me? Do I not matter so much, that my story doesn’t exist?” He was hurting and believed he was owed some form of restitution or compensation for his emotional wounds and I get it – I even sort of believed it.
Lo, God’s ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts – well, not always.
This Christian walk is one where we seek to attain a level of perfection in which we reflect the very nature of God in all our dealings. In giving, in loving, in working… in forgiving. A wise girl once said to me, “It is impossible for mankind to do it (forgive) considering our limitations, but we can do it if we tap into the divine nature. The grace, nu…” That’s the divine requisition of forgiveness.
In the wise words of my good friend Miriam:
Forgiveness is divine in the sense that only God can make you truly forgive. From my experience and that of others, I have learnt that sometimes we think we have forgiven because we have told ourselves and God, “I have forgiven” and “we have moved on with our lives…” However, to God, we are still harboring stuff that we didn’t know were there. The journey to forgiveness is a painful one because;
- You don’t want to admit you allowed yourself to be so hurt
- You don’t want the person to think he or she is important, especially after they have hurt you…
This is all pride that in our heads is a form of dignity. So, we need to go to God and ask Him to heal us; not tell Him we have forgiven. And ask Him to search us… only then will we truly forgive; He knows us better than we know ourselves.
I just HAD to paste it here just as I received it. Forgiveness isn’t as easy as telling the offender, “I have forgiven you,” because in actual fact, you cannot do it on your own. It is by grace and ‘grace rarely makes sense from those looking in from outside’…
Back to the matter:
As the offended, what would it take for you to ‘let it go’? Would you be satisfied to be given the chance to say hurtful things to your offender? Would it fill you with joy to inflict hurt on them, just as they have hurt you- maybe you’ll destroy something that is meaningful to them? Or maybe all you want is a simple apology or for your offender to admit that they were wrong and to promise they will not do it again?
After posting the prelude to this blog post, my cousin (Andrew Adote) sent me something:
True forgiveness is almost impossible for most humans. It takes a long time even for the best of us. All we can do is our best under the circumstances. Will a victim of a vicious rape be able to treat her abuser as though nothing ever happened? Would she allow him into her home and around her kids?… Ah well, perfection may be impossible – but we shall do our best to work towards it.
Again, I personally don’t believe forgiveness has a ‘but’ – and the differing nature of emotions and journeys to forgiveness makes it impossible to have a blanket approach or solution. But I am certain no matter the hurt or peculiar situation, it all starts with God.
Now, I’m not even going to pretend to know how it feels to be so wounded and broken deeply that you can’t bear to see the person who hurt you. I have fortunately or unfortunately never been dealt that hand. I am however still certain that it starts and ends with God.
Every one of us is important to God. He gets no pleasure from seeing us suffer or wallowing in pain and hurt. He is ever ready and willing to heal you from that pain/bitterness. That hurt may not have been intended, but once it has come, it is to shape you into your perfect nature – it is to work character in you.
I may not know exactly what healing may mean; but the general understanding I have is that it is a restoration of what was taken from us/lost. (Please note, this is not always in material things as will be the expectation) but whatever it entails, God will make us whole and that is His promise. The onus is on us to focus our expectations not on restitution (the offender), but rather: on restoration (God and His healing grace.)
I will lay down my pen on this subject for now…