Monday, 23 June 2014

Thoughts on forgiveness

There's this quote I've been seeing on the internet a lot about accepting an apology that was never given to you. The first time I saw it, I thought it sounded pretty awesome and it was my phone wallpaper for a long while.
Recently, a friend reached out to me about how he was having a hard time forgiving someone. He prayed and wished this particular person good things but when he got an IM from this person after a really long while, he felt the bile of hatred rise up in his chest again. I saw his messages and nodded to everything; I know how that feels, this is easily my reality. I know how it feels to pray good things towards someone you're having trouble forgiving and still feel so much hatred/hurt when they come up in conversation.
I've been there. In fact, I still am.
I'm one of the most vindictive people I know-- and I don't know very many.

The thing with forgiveness is it makes you feel good-- cotton candy good-- inside until you get your heart hurt and you actually have to forgive someone.

Forgiveness looks awful pretty on paper but many nights it looks like body-wracking sobs and a soaked pillow. 

Sometimes, you will need to sit down with the person you need to forgive and talk things through. Other times you won't get the opportunity. What happens then?
What happens when they don't see or don't want to see how they've hurt you?
What happens when forgiveness doesn't look/feel as pretty as it sounds? When letting go is harder than singing that song from Frozen.

I'm not going to act like I have forgiveness figured out because I haven't but this is the process I'm in right now that could maybe work for someone other than me:
If you can, talk things through in a mature way with said person. If not, seek closure and confide in a trustworthy friend. Pray good things for them past the hatred/hurt.Who says we have to feel like it before we do it? 
And when the tears come and threaten to choke you? Let them. Ride the emotional rollercoaster. The healing process will hurt, let it. So when your heart is done and back together, it will be stronger and better.

I'm quickly learning that no experience is wasted. Everything-- good and bad-- adds up and works for ultimate good.

Any thoughts on forgiveness? Or experiences you'd like to share? Let's talk in the comments

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  1. Great post. So thought provoking. You are right - no experience is ever wasted.

  2. A friend and I just finished talking about forgiveness/the best way to deal with adults who cloak their misdeeds with their demands for respect due to our Patriarchal society. It's ridiculous, that people could be so wrong...yet so bent on receiving an apology from you just because you are younger! Or your tone "sounds wrong" because you tried to stand your ground!

    I think we all need to have a game plan to deal with hurt/rejection etc (sounds weird, I know) so we're not too damaged by the impact. Because we know humans are fallible, we're able to deal better with our broken hearts when we're prepared to be "shocked."

  3. Ah. Forgiveness. My saving grace and worst nightmare at the same time. I can relate to Maggielola's comment. One time, I asked in church what to do when someone hurts you over and over again, and you're sure they use up their quota of the 70 * 7 on a weekly basis? It's difficult, I won't deny that. Maybe difficult is too mild a word to use. But I've found that what forgiveness means for me, especially when I can't talk to them or they don't want to see, is to decide in my heart, that I will no longer hold the offence against the person, then pray to God to help me, because there is no way I'll make good on the decision by myself. The hurt is still so bad that it's almost tangible; it's sometimes like a physical pain in my chest, but I have to do what is required of me. I have to forgive to be forgiven. I'm a sensitive person, so I have to learn and consciously decide not to take some things to mind, just let them roll off my back. Other times, what I do is try to determine the reason why the person hurt me. A few weeks ago, someone older said nasty things to me. I thought about it, and started to get angry, but I realised that the intent was to draw blood, and I wasn't going to give them that satisfaction, so I let it go. Ultimately, God is my help when it comes to forgiveness. He reminds me of the need to, gives me the grace to, and nudges me into accepting it.

  4. IbukunAkinnawo2 July 2014 at 08:55

    Thanks for dropping by, Andrea!

  5. IbukunAkinnawo2 July 2014 at 08:57

    "I think we all need to have a game plan to deal with hurt/rejection...we're able to deal better with our broken hearts when we're prepared to be
    'shocked" oh THIS! Actually working on a personal game plan. I don't think it's healthy for one to allow oneself be offended easily and often.

  6. IbukunAkinnawo2 July 2014 at 09:10

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Her. Cannot tell you how much I could relate to everything you've said. Esp being sensitive and having a physical pain in your chest when someone has hurt you. I guess the only thing one can do in this forgiveness business is ask for grace because it is NOT easy.
    Again, thank you for sharing!