Monday, May 18, 2009

Forgiveness

Yesterday's lesson at church: forgiveness.

Some lessons you hear over and over again at church-- and I think those are the ones we need to pay attention to the most. Forgiveness is definitely one of those.

Things I've learned about forgiveness over the years:
  • It's not about them. It's about you.
  • If you cannot forgive someone else, how can you expect the atonement to work for you?
  • Most people on this earth are reasonable people. If you are wronged in some way, it was most likely by a reasonable person. So ask yourself-- why would a reasonable person do this? After all, we've done our fair share of hurting others without meaning to.
  • Forgiveness is a process. Plant the seed, and nurture the growth within you.
  • Forgiving is not necessarily forgetting. As a friend of mine once stated, "I choose not to be around that person so they will not have the opportunity to sin against me again." :) You can forgive, yet still protect yourself from further harm.
  • We judge others based on their actions towards us. We judge ourselves based on our intent. We need to give others the benefit of the doubt and assume that their good intentions didn't work out the way they had planned.
This was a good lesson, given at a time I desperately needed to hear it again to work through some issues with my ex-husband. Even though he committed suicide almost 3 years ago, I can still forgive him for the aftermath he left me to deal with. It is time to really work on letting it go.

I am tenderly watering the seed that was planted yesterday.

19 comments:

otin said...

I never hold grudges, I can forgive and forget very easily, and I always try to see each situation from the other persons point of view! Just don't tailgate me lol.

Caitlin said...

Forgiving is like magic. Once you've forgiven a person you can start associating them with all of the good things you remember instead of the bad, because there must have been good somewhere in there. As a result, you will feel better and happier.

GreenJello said...

otin, I'm usually good at not holding on to grudges, too. I do find it harder to release the feelings when something MAJOR has happened to you, directly caused by another person acting deliberately.

Which goes along with Caitlin's comment: I have to let go of the intense feelings surrounding the hurt my children have gone through. I'm finding that anything that caused "Mama Bear" to come out lashing is the hardest to let go.

Kristina P. said...

Forgiveness can be hard for me. I definitely have a very difficult relationship with my mom, and she has done a lot of hurtful things to me and our family. It's something I have to work on continually.

GreenJello said...

I think it's hardest to forgive close family members who have hurt us. That's what I'm dealing with right now, and it's infinitely more difficult than a co-worker, boss, or neighbor.

Bunnylord said...

Your ex "committed suicide", eh? Is that your official story? "He shot himself in the back of the head with a revolver 13 times."

And what kind of freaky cult are you in? Practical advice from a church? I remember the Baptists preaching about how rock music takes over young people's minds and forces them to do sex and drugs, because without the music there would be no incentive for those things. My mother wouldn't let me stop going until the preacher's wife gave a sermon about how women should be subservient to men. That fixed that.

GreenJello said...

It's the practical advice that keeps me coming back to my freaky cult, Grant. :)

Otter Thomas said...

Your first point is so important in my mind. Holding grudges only hurts yourself. Forgiving lets all that anger and hurt go. It is still tough to do sometimes.

GreenJello said...

As my hubby commented yesterday, "Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies."

Maternal Mirth said...

What do you do when you are FORCED to deal with an unreasonable person who hurts anyone that doesn't 'get out of their way'???

See, I can do reasonable/rational forgiveness, but crazy/selfish... not so much.

GreenJello said...

MM, I know exactly what you mean. I've learned to cope by trying to imagine what's going on in their head to make them act that way. It doesn't stop the craziness, but it can make it a little more tolerable.

And then I try to limit my contact with that person as much as possible.

The other trick is to learn not to get sucked into that person's emotional turmoil of a world. Don't try to prove anything. Don't engage. Be nice and unfailingly polite to them in person, and vent to someone else later. :)

kyooty said...

Forgiveness is like an advanced skill. You really have to work hard at it for it to become something you can do, and understand how it will help.

Bex said...

great post!

i learned that forgiveness is something you CHOOSE to do - and you have to choose it over and over again. especially in marriage: mine and about everyone else's i've talked to. it seems that when our spouse wrongs us and it cuts deep, it takes a lot of repeated forgiving.

once again - great post! you have some really good comments on here too!

♥ bfs~"Mimi" ♥ said...

The verse, "Let not the sun go down upon thy wrath," is a good one. Holding back forgiveness only harms the spirit of the one keeping all the toxins inside.

Beth said...

You did a good job listening in church yesterday! I'm impressed.

And I forgive often. I just like the notion that people are basically good and that we are all doing the best we can in the situation we are in. It helps me sleep better at night.

Bama Cheryl said...

Excellent lesson and you did a great job of pulling out the most important parts (of course, to you) that make it real forgiveness. You gave me something to think about. thank you!

Sprite's Keeper said...

I need to work on forgiving the small transgressions. The large stuff I can work through and come to a conclusion on. The small stuff takes more time because I begin to question the person's common sense. Great post!

Givinya De Elba said...

That was such a great post. I agree with what you said, and I need to be reminded that I believe that, because I forget easily. Thanks for that awesome post.

GreenJello said...

Thanks, everyone, for such wonderful comments. I really appreciate your thoughtful musings and experiences.