Forgiveness is one of those things that we all want to receive, but can be so difficult to give out. For some of us it might take years before we feel we can forgive the people who have hurt us.
There are some horrible crimes against humanity in this world. Child abuse. Sexual abuse. Domestic violence. I see the effects of it everyday in my classroom, students who are fearful and angry. Students who have been shaped by violence and unforgiveness. I could go on for days, but the point is that some of the real life stories of people I know and people I don’t know are truly horrifying and I think to myself, “how can you possibly forgive that person for doing that to you?” I mean they have every RIGHT to not forgive, in my opinion. That is the thing, we all have that right.
But is it right to forgive? Or can we choose not to forgive; maybe out of fear, or the need to protect oneself, or lets be honest out of revenge.
The beauty of free will is we can choose to not forgive, and many people do it, but where does that leave us?
My own personal story is filled with bad guys that have taken what they wanted, with no concern for the frailty of a girls soul. Prideful men that think only about themselves and what they want, or even worse what they deserve. All it took was one violation for me to feel that I was unwanted and undeserving of protection, and then patterned my life for disappointment after disappointment. I could be filled with anger and hatred. I should be filled with anger and hatred, but where does that leave me? Sick, and bitter and unjoyful. I take responsibility for making the poor choices that led me here, believing the lies about my worth and not following God’s plan for my life.
I chose to forgive, and I am still trying to forgive some of them. It is a daily struggle because the damage that is done to someones heart is far reaching, even through the generations. But as a mother of three beautiful girls I know it is my responsibility to try and prevent those generational curses from being passed down.
One of those curses is unforgiveness. It is a daily battle in this home, and I wish I didn’t have to fight it. But I do, and I will for my girls sake. It is a messy business. One day you think things might be okay, the next you are comforting your child as they sob on the kitchen floor, asking why God is allowing such pain and heartache in their lives. What is the answer to that? How do you reassure a child that has been crushed by betrayal and heartache? You encourage forgiveness daily, you remind them that we are all broken. That we should forgive those who hurt us out of their brokeness, and help mend our own brokeness in the process.
One thing that helps me to work on forgiveness is that I know I have done many things to others that require forgiveness. Forgiveness that must be worked out through pain, tears and long hours of questioning the goodness of God. When you realize that the things you have done to others could make them curse God and choose a life of darkness, that is when you realize the importance of forgiveness.
The freedom that comes with real forgiveness is such a beautiful thing. To know that you have done what you can to bless those that curse you. A genuine blessing that comes from the heart.
My girls often ask me why people do such horrible things to each other. Why did that man kidnap that little girl? Why does Joseph Kony turn innocent little children into killing machines? Why is the sex trafficking trade increasing exponentially? Why is our family broken up?
Because the people in this world are broken. All of us. Broken people create more broken people.
When you take the steps to choose to forgive those who have wronged you, you are taking a step to mend the broken in this world. Your world, our world needs to be mended.
Will you take that step today?