Friday, July 23, 2010

The Power of Forgiveness


The older and more mature I get, the stronger my desire is to grow in my spiritual life. I take nothing in my life for granted--including the good, the bad, and the ugly. I believe all things work for the greater good and trying to be rooted enough in my spirituality to step out on faith, to walk down this road less traveled by so I may be protected, loved, rewarded, and given rest for my good work.

But part of gaining the serenity and security from God I long for requires me to pour into my spirit and purge myself of negativity and distractions that will block my path. So, every day I try to find a sliver of time in my day for meditation. Often this peaceful ritual includes reading a daily devotional. Currently, I am reading Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Begins Each Morning. Now, I looooooove Joel yall!! I try to catch his sermons on TV whenever I can. I find him to be so positive and able to break down biblical principles in such a way that really speaks to me in a practical way because his messages serve as good guidelines for being a "good Christian" (if you're a believer) or "good person" (if you're a non-believer). 

Anyway, lately Joel (by way of big G), has been speaking LIFE into me. The last 2 weeks my daily devotions have focused on FORGIVENESS! This focus started shortly after finding out a man I'd thought was single and interested in dating me due to our ummm, well, DATE, was in fact in a long-term relationship (womp!).** And though he has since apologized, and I accepted his apology, I couldn't help but bring it up every chance I got to any one who'd listen. So while I'm sitting here thinking I am so generous with my forgiveness of people who wrong me (even trifling negros who want their cake w/ butter cream frosting, fruit filling, personalized message on top, AND to eat it too pssshhh), but I still struggled with letting certain offenses go. I held onto them like keepsakes labeled "I went through all this drama and all I got was this stupid apology (o_O)." But, if I made amends, and I'm over it, why am I holding on to the apology keepsakes, allowing the hurt to still consume my thoughts and emotions? Well, over the course of a few days, an answer was revealed and repeated in some of the following messages:

Proverbs 14:10 "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." If you hold on to the hurts and pains of the past, they will poison you wherever you go and keep you from experiencing good, healthy relationships. you may think that other people are the problem, but examine your own heart. Quit mourning over something that's over and done.--JO
Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." ...If you will stay in an attitude of faith and victory, God has promised that He will turn those emotional wounds around. He'll use them to your advantage, and you will come out better than you would have had they not happened to you.--JO
 Hebrews 12:14-15 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." ...As long as a bitter internal root is growing, the problems will persist. You may be able to control your behavior or keep a good attitude for awhile, but you can't be free. You have to go deeper and get to the root to be able to deal with the problem overcome it, and truly begin to change--JO
Matthew 6:12 "Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." If you have areas in your life where you are constantly struggling, trying to change but finding yourself unable to do so, ask God to show you what's keeping you from being free.--JO
Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." ... Don't let your heart get polluted. Be quick to forgive, and the joy of the Lord will burst forth within you like a fresh mountain spring.

The general, overlapping theme I got from the above is that forgiveness is about SELF, not anyone else. So often it seems we (myself definitely included) think we are doing those who wrong us a favor by being gracious enough to make amends. On some "you lucky I know Jesus because I'd be breaking my foot off in yo &#$" type forgiveness. We want other people to think we are the bigger person and above the situation by saying we forgive, but take all opportunities to "bring up old sh*t" or await those who trespassed against us to trespass again. We don't want anybody to think we're weak/soft enough to allow people to walk all over us. In our minds, we sometimes see this type of so-called forgiving behavior as a dominant and defensive stance, but really it takes authority and control away from us and places it in the hands (likely unbeknown) to the very people who wronged us. And that's just unproductive and foolish!

The very definition of forgive is to give up all claim on account of, or to cease to feel resentment against! The act of forgiving requires us to to take control... and then release. But we have to choose to be in the driver's seat and not be fall passenger to the very vehicle of hurt that tried to run us over. Essentially, the power of forgiveness is actually exerting the power to forgive. And as the Good Book says, this power will free us from baggage to make room for joy, love and happiness!!! Who doesn't want that?! Kat Stacks. Mel Gibson. Point is, forgiveness is an action, not a peace treaty or passive aggressive defense mechanism. 

When I've made the choice to forgive and purge myself of ill feelings and emotional strife, I feel good about myself. And quite frankly, my well-being and sanity is what's most important. I owe it to myself to make sure I am in a good place and become better every day.  I thank God everyday for these new revelations, otherwise I'd likely be confined to a ward in WPIC (pronounced "whip-ick") from having a mental breakdown of all the negative and destructive assaults that come my way. Besides, not only do I hate holding emotional baggage of those who wrong me, I hate to carry baggage of those I have wronged. What goes around (forgiving) comes around (being forgiven), right? It's a struggle and a challenge but one I must face.

Can I get a witness to the power of forgiveness? Do you think it's possible to truly forgive some one if you refuse to forget and move on? Are there any instances that aren't worth forgiving and forgetting? Do you struggle with forgiveness? Is there anything you want to purge and prune yourself of before the weekend festivities begin?

Speak now or forever hold your peace,
~4GEMness

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**Undoubtedly a case of poor decisions on his part. But I have sincerely forgiven him and I genuinely hope that he gets his life (and relationship) in order.

9 comments:

  1. So glad I came here today....Lovely post Gemmie just lovely , Forgiveness is truly an action I struggle with and sadly forgiveness of self does not come that easily for me..but I am a work in progress and 'preciate this post today

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  2. I loooove this post and I'm forwarding it to my family and friends!! I struggle with forgiveness and tend to have a long memory for things that have hurt me. Thank you for reminding me to pray more about this. God forgives me on a DAILY basis so I really need to step my game up as to how I treat other people.

    Sidebar: "you lucky I know Jesus because I'd be breaking my foot off in yo &#$" <----This needs to be on a t-shirt!!

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  3. This spoke to me on EVERY level!! my pastor says that forgiveness is a choice.. to remember the transgressions is also a choice.. we much choose to stop bringing it up.. or else we truly haven't let it go..
    my brother has stolen money from me.. stolen clothes(?)and treats my mother the way that no man should.. yet when i see him walk in with an iTouch knowing our electricity is about to be turned off, i can't help but wanna kick him AND the wall...
    how hypocritical am i to ask God to forgive me daily and can't forgive my brother.. Vengeance is not mine, it is the Lord's.
    not only that, but the person that's offended us has gone on with their lives and We'RE the ones with the emotional ball and chain holding ourselves back..
    Thank you for this one Gem...

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  4. Great post Gem. I am a true believer in the power of forgiveness. Not only have I learned to forgive others but I have also learned to forgive myself. I found that forgiveness was the key that allowed me to break away from the cycle of anger and hurt that bound me for so long as well as allowed me to have really beneficial relationships with my friends and finally my husband.

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  5. I can't say much. I'm still stuck on Proverbs 14:10 "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy." , as you can see on Twittuh. It's sad to say, I too suffer with forgiveness. Reading all that you've said, I haven't let go of any resentful feelings from the wrongdoings that I've experienced. I don't know if I really know how to. But I'm doing all I can to. Thanks Gem. *sigh*

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  6. So I'd like to personally thank you for reading me a spiritual riot act...I have been struggling with this concept for a WHILE now, especially when it comes to members of the opposite sex...unfortunately, it's easier said than done, but with some prayer and some faith, I'm sure I'll FINALLY be able to let some things go and be able to move on and truly flourish...

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  7. @Bajanflchick
    thank YOU for stopping by!!!! i'm glad you got something from the post! i certainly got tons just writing it. i pray for you in your struggles with forgiveness. forgiveness of self is something i find most difficult to do myself.

    @Shondriette
    girl im so glad you enjoyed the post! and i pray for you in your struggles with forgiveness as well. its not easy but once we can identify our problem areas, and how to overcome them, we are much better off. thank God for revelations and understanding! p.s. you know id rock that shirt ALL day (i really do think this multiple times a day when ppl cross me *smh*)

    @SaneN85
    LOL you are silly!

    @Nick@nite
    girl i am so glad you were able to take something away from this post. i know dealing with forgiveness is is one of the HARDEST things ppl deal with. its difficult to balance unconditional love with tough love. but it can be done! you can forgive while also choosing to help some one and not enable them in their wrong way of life. i pray for you and your family, and that you are able to deal with your hurt without holding grudges or having your heart hardened from the pain. *hugs* thanks for sharing!!

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  8. @Shay-d-Lady
    thank shay! forgiveness is not something that comes naturally to most ppl and it takes some time to develop and be comfortable with. and you're right--you are freed from so many harsh feelings when you can forgive yourself and others. the weight that is lifted!

    @Sukez
    well the first step is identifying your problem area. if you WANT to deal with the hurt and wrongdoing, you can then learn to take control of your feelings and then claim the power to let it go and move on. i sincerely hope that you desire to forgive and know the freedom of releasing yourself from that baggage. it wont happen over night. you just have to commit yourself to practicing forgiveness. it may always be a struggle, but you gotta start somewhere. i wish you well, suki-sweetheart :) *hugs*

    @livelovelibra
    it is absolutely easier said than done! but thank God He's there to help us when we cant find it in ourselves to get through it. i pray for your strength in forgiving. it is yours to conquer!!

    @ERRYBODY!!
    thank you ALL for the feedback and opening up about your own struggles with forgiveness. i cant express enough to you how this very post slapped ME in the face. i started off going in a different direction but, as God would have it, i ended up here. and im glad i did! because it seems like we all could use a reminder in what it means to forgive and why its healthy for us to do so. this really was like therapy for me...

    thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, and thank you for showing me love :)

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