Welcome to my journey towards accepting forgiveness.
My husband didn't wrong me, neither did any of my close friends and neither not my family. My home life with my family is wonderful, my husband and children are my life and I would probably drop dead without all of them. I have been wronged by someone I didn't know very well, and the harm that was created was and continues to be devastating. The effects are life long and cannot be undone. What has been done is done, it is what it is. Now what?
Something I am really struggling with right now is the art of true forgiveness. Perhaps I am struggling with this because, until recently, I had never been wronged to the point where forgiveness was questionable. Sure, people have said hurtful things to me, and people have been rude but I've never been so hurt and devastated that I could not immediately forgive the guilty party. Until now. Prior to today, I had planned on not forgiving. Sure, I said I would forgive, but it wasn't an honest response, it was a standard, textbook response to someone saying, "I'm sorry." When someone says those words, you tend to automatically respond with, "It's okay, no problem, of course I forgive you." My acceptance of the apology was an empty as the apology itself. I have been told "I'm sorry" so many times over the past several weeks, that I'm numb to the words.The words mean nothing when the actions of the individual apologizing continue to be devastating.
As part of my journey toward forgiveness, I started reading about forgiveness. According to Wikipedia, forgiveness "...is the renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, disagreement, or mistake or ceasing to demand punishment or retaliation."
Hmmm, I'm so not there, yet. While I do not want punishment nor do I wish for retaliation, I am resentful and bitter. I am woman enough to admit that.
As it so happens, yesterday's topic in my son's Sunday School class was forgiveness. It could not have come at a better time. My husband and I really needed to hear about the act of forgiveness from a spiritual standpoint. I'm definitely lacking in my Biblical knowledge, but the story of Joseph and his brothers hit home. Joseph was horribly wronged by his own flesh and blood. He was beaten and thrown into a cistern, then eventually sold into slavery. Many years later, Joseph showed compassion to his brothers by basically supporting them in their time of need. He could have easily had them killed, but he chose mercy.
The story of Joseph was powerful and deeply meaningful for me. You don't need to be a practicing Christian or even religious at all to appreciate the message.
Next Monday: The Health Benefits of Forgiveness