Leaves scooting across the landscape, crunching under your feet, a nip in the air, and the Holidays full steam ahead. Oh my God, FAMILY and FRIENDS gathered in one room!
🎁 🥜 🍂🎄🍂🥜 🎁
Forgiveness—it’s a topic we all think about. When we have people in our life, we can have conflict because not everyone thinks, feels, loves, understands, nurtures, and needs are the same. It is as certain as God made little green apples conflict will appear. Sometimes it materializes from people’s words or actions. A human characteristic we can control. Unfortunately, the worst conflicts can come from those we admire, love, and whom we think about a great deal.
I recall a time when a person I admired and loved said some very cutting words and their actions even scared me. I guess you could say, off the wall, in anger, possibly the act of jealousy. I was deeply wounded by unnecessary careless words, their beliefs and actions. Is the person who said the words a bad person? Not at all, but people often think they can speak to people however they want without consequence. There is that word: consequence. I write and think about consequences a lot. The result or effect of an action or circumstance. A place of pride and arrogance is where consequence reverberates over and over in our heads. The unresolved lingering hurt from someone else’s words or actions. Someone you loved as a friend or loved one never considered their words may have been spiteful, harmful, and even hateful.
Sadly, this person’s words pierced so deep it impacted the way I viewed them and the way I think of them. It’s caught in my mind like a spiderweb. Not only their words but their actions. I still love them deeply and would do anything for them, and I only wish them the best in life. But the respect I once held for them is gone, gone forever, along with trust. My vision of them was tainted like a polluted landfill.
The wall that went up between us many times over the years either went unnoticed by the person or they simply didn’t care. I think they enjoy watching and living in the contamination of their words. It fuels them. Because they never let go of their pride or their vision or words to fix what they broke.
Actually, an apology honestly would feel like a punch to the gut–or pouring salt in a wound. Because an apology by a person who lives to manipulate isn’t genuine. Their actions will never change. It’s a thought pattern that makes them comfortable. I know in my own life, apologizing is like a tattered sweater. You have this love for your favorite sweater. Unfortunately, it’s worn to a frazzle, and it never looks or feels the same again.
I avoid this person at all costs. If I saw them, I’d turn and run to keep from talking to them. Even wearing a brand-new sweater, I’d be fearful they would start tearing it apart. I know minor conflicts over the years with this person are like a fire I cannot put out. As with the first incident, or second or third, I learned how to stop, drop, and roll, to avoid their words from tearing me apart.
The ties to this person I enjoyed fell by the wayside, and much of the hurt over the years probably could have been avoided had someone had the guts to mutter two simple words: “I apologize. I tried to destroy you. I’ll never do it again.”
Will I ever trust this person again?
While it has not been a pleasant experience emotionally speaking. It has taught me valuable life lessons or two, really more lessons than I can count. I never want to ostracize someone or cause hurt with my words or actions. Karma consequences is the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence. Viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This relates to the judgment of God in scripture and the tenant of Christianity we ultimately reap what we have sown. What comes around goes around.
When I see walls come up in friendships, or family, or your mate, I never want to turn my back and leave a wall looming in the wake of a disaster. To me, some people are worth letting go or letting go of them to save your soul. It’s hard to put out the fire when someone keeps adding fuel.
When a person you love has torn your heart out with their words or actions, the war between your flesh and the war between what you know from right or wrong rages inside. Our nature rarely immediately wants to forgive a person who has hurt us. Our flesh often wants to hold on to the wound, to rehash it over and over in our minds. Then we let the hurt simmer until it boils over into full-blown anger and resentment. Left unchecked, this can cause unforgiveness which can fester and twist inside of us until we become old and bitter.
So, what do we do when we struggle to forgive those we love?
I think forgiveness isn’t always a one-time deal. Forgiveness—over and over—is exhausting, but even for Christians who want to live in forgiveness, it doesn’t always happen instantly.
Let’s face it, words come at a price. Because a person’s pride and arrogance are too big, and they just enjoy the fight or don’t care what they’ve done or said. It’s their burden to bear, what comes out of their mouth. It is a heavy burden to carry, so don’t try to carry it yourself. Let them carry it.
Forgiveness is hard, it’s messy, and it’s painful, and we’ll probably never forget, but fight for your life to choose forgiveness, because your life’s happiness and your spiritual well-being depend on it. Forgiveness and reconciliation are a two-way street between both parties.
With time, and a lot of willingness on our part, and the Holy Spirit’s help, forgiveness becomes easier, and those negative feelings become fewer and farther between. Time heals all wounds. Forgiveness is a journey we must intentionally embark on, and not grow weary of a sometimes long and painful journey. It’s not as simple as us “giving it to God” and trying to forget but involves intentional actions.
In the coming new year of 2024, be careful with the words you use and your actions in the future. Let’s be kinder to each other–to be more forgiving because we all are imperfect and in need of each other's mercy.
As Christians, when those waves of hurt, anger, disappointment, and even hate, wash over us, we have an enemy trying to steal, kill, and destroy our lives with things like unforgiveness and anger (John 10:10). When we have to determine in our heart to once again forgive that person who hurt us. Jesus told Peter he must forgive a person who sins against him not seven times but seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22).
This tells me forgiveness isn’t always a one-time event in our lives but sometimes an ongoing life event. Remember when you face that person at the dinner table or at Holiday events just smile. There is always an eraser at the end of your pencil.
The series PLANTATION HILL is a family of generations of everyday forgiveness.