I was the most forgiving person until I really had to forgive. It’s easy to go through the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors) until you have a face to put to that debtor. And not only do you have a face but you have a list of reasons why they don’t deserve your forgiveness and how right you are.
I may be the only one who’s ever experienced this but unforgiveness feels amazing for about a day. I go over the situation countless times, reinforcing to myself how right I am. I call a few people and we discuss the details, continuing to reiterate my rightness and how ridiculous the other person is. It’s awesome. Then the day goes by, and that awesome feeling fades away quickly. It becomes annoying. I obsess over the situation even though I no longer want to think about it. I go from not wanting to talk to the person to not wanting them to breathe the same air as me. People start avoiding my phone calls or if they pity me enough, they answer but keep the conversation short because all I want to talk about is this person and how wrong they are. It’s a terrible space to be in and unfortunately we let too many days, months, and years past by living in this space.
This was a hard pill for me to swallow because I truly enjoy being right; but my quest to be right was leading me to hell (Matthew 6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses). And sadly I would convince myself I had forgiven a person but every time I got the chance to mentally respond to something they said, it would be filled with:
“Ask the girl who you were talking to while you were talking to me.”
“Go hang out with the friend you ditched me for.”
“Go ask your boyfriend, I’m sure he has all the answers.”
There was a point in my life where anybody could have caught this unforgiveness. Friends, family, guys I was talking to; I did not discriminate. And it wasn’t until recently that a situation had been annoying THE MESS out of me, and God finally asked me, “this is how you want to do life?” Did I really want to spend my life carrying the burden of unforgiveness and risk my soul on top of that? Of course not!
For me, forgiveness started with praying for the person, like genuinely praying for their well-being. When I didn’t feel like it, when I remembered and got angry all over again, when I wanted to boast about how right I was, I prayed for the person. These weren’t, “God bless __________,” prayers. I prayed for their success, family, financial needs, goals, spiritual walk; I prayed for them like I would want someone to pray for me. And I really did want God to bless them but I also needed God to see my heart and break down this prideful wall I built. As time went on, I found myself not cringing when that person was around. I no longer thought about the situation as much and I was so proud of myself until I realized there was another step: forgetting.
Check back next week to read about forgetting!