Posted by: angelnorman | November 3, 2009

on forgiveness.

i fully believe that, when it comes to judging a person’s character, it’s less about their actions and more about their reactions. how they deal, how they cope. that’s how i try to live my life anyways– i care less about my actions and more about how i react. sometimes i act without thinking, but i always try to react as carefully as possible, choosing to be good and christ-like. i put more thought into how i am dealing with a particular situation than how i got there in the first place, if that makes sense. when it comes to having confrontational issues with people, i don’t hold grudges. when people hurt me in any way, shape, or form, sure i get angry and confused and frustrated. however, i don’t let it keep me from offering them kindness and forgiveness on down the road. i don’t let my heart harden because it slows my reaction time way down.

i do, however, guard my heart against people, and what i struggle with the most is defining that line between “grudges” and “heart-guarding”. the Bible says that the heart is the wellspring of life, and that whatever else we do, we should guard it carefully by keeping our thoughts and our actions under control. (or at least that’s what I get out of Proverbs chapter 4.) we should not hold on to hate, anger, pain. we should let it go, keep it from hardening our hearts, and in doing so, stray from the path of evil. but it’s a fine line, really, between keeping yourself distanced from a source of pain and actually holding on to the pain that was caused. it’s a line i’ve walked a lot, honestly.

i forgive easily. after all, doesn’t God forgive easily? don’t i get forgiveness for every little thing i do because my God is merciful? and shouldn’t we take our cues from Him? shouldn’t we all strive to be as forgiving, as loving, as merciful as our perfect Maker? however, i do approach certain situations with caution. i don’t want to get swept up in those hateful feelings again. i don’t want my heart to become unguarded lest that anger finds a way to gain a foothold and take control of my actions.

a friend once told me that when it came to relationships, i was a doormat. i let people walk all over me. but i think she was wrong. i don’t really see me forgiving someone as being a doormat. i see it as being christ-like because i don’t go into any situation saying, “you know, i think i’ll let so-and-so treat me like crap today.” no. i am much smarter than some people realize, i guess. i go into situations, after praying about them for as long as it takes, saying, “i’m going to do the right thing. i’m going to do what God would want me to do.”

i apologize for my bad behavior. i forgive people for theirs. and just as soon as i’ve asked God to remove my anger, pain and frustration, i react to others with love, just as my Heavenly Father reacts to me.

this has been on my mind so much lately because i’ve found myself in another situation in which i must pray and ask God to help me react in the best possible way. i want to be Christ-like, to turn my other cheek to this person and treat them with the same mercy that i am thankful to receive every single day– but it’s harder now because it’s someone who has caused me lots of tears and lots of hurt. it’s never been quite as serious as this before when i’ve had to forgive someone, and it’s quite the sticky situation for me. of course i forgive them. it was a long time ago. i’ve matured since then, and hopefully, they have too. things that were said and done happened, there’s no taking them back. there’s no reason to still be focused on them. in fact, i can’t even remember every little thing that was done/said, which has to mean that i’ve forgiven enough of it that forgetting it was easy. but i am not sure how close i should get again, and that makes me think that maybe i haven’t forgotten OR forgiven enough. i am not sure if i should try to rebuild a relationship, to offer closure and thus peace on the one that was broken. i’m not sure exactly how to handle it, or why it’s bugging me as much as it is.

forgiveness is not something i take lightly, but i know it’s always the right thing to do. and total forgiveness means letting it all go and starting fresh, right? something i read today in my bible studying said, “Forgiveness is grace working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is like water pressure from a faucet, where we are a hose through which that water should flow. If we are attached, the power is not ours; but the waters of life can course in and through us as we are connected to the source.” i get it. i do. as long as i am connected to God, i have that power of grace, through Him.

i’m going to take it to God and trust that He’ll lead me right. i urge you to not take forgiveness lightly, either. if you’ve been forgiven, you should pay it forward and forgive someone else. the Bible says, after all, that if you forgive men who sin against you, God will forgive you, but if you don’t forgive those men, God will not forgive you. and some might say that the Bible is interpretative, but honey, there’s no other way to interpret that one.

God forgives those who are forgiving. this much i know is true. and i don’t know about you, but i desperately need that forgiveness.

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