Forgiveness is such a simple word, but probably one of the hardest to act out. For whatever reason our pride keeps us from not only giving it, but asking for it. It’s not an easy thing to do. When we feel wronged we find it easier to play victim and initiate the woe is me’s instead of humbling ourselves and either taking ownership of what we’ve done or forgiving what someone else has done to us.
This lack of forgiveness is something that will slowly eat away at us. We may think we’re justified in our decision not to forgive, but it keeps us from moving forward and really knowing true joy. It’s also rather hypocritical of us to expect others to forgive us, even God, when we ourselves can’t forgive. Who are we, that we expect God to forgive us, but the wrongs others have done to us, aren’t worthy of our forgiveness. Are we that much better than God?
Don’t get me wrong friend, I am not saying it’s easy, in fact sometimes I think forgiveness can only come with God’s help. And just because we choose to forgive doesn’t mean we trust again right away or even at all. It just means that we have chosen to not be angry or hurt about it and forgive that person for the hurt they’ve caused us.
Just as important and sometimes equally as hard is the ability to ask forgiveness when we have caused others pain. Our pride so easily gets in the way and tells us all the reasons we are justified in treating someone a certain way, or causing pain for someone else, even if it’s unintentional.
I’ve been wrestling with this very thing. It’s not one thing I’ve done, but it’s how I made someone feel on multiple occasions by the way I acted towards them. It was not intentional, but looking back I can see how I wasn’t the friend she needed me to be. I was wrapped up in my own life. I had so many things going on, school (which was proving to be a little more difficult than anticipated), a full-time job, a boyfriend, and did I mention, I was on the brink of failing one of my classes. I was tired and run down. When she would call and ask me to hang out I would continually decline the invitations because I either had something else going on, studying, or too tired to go out.
For years I have felt justified in my actions, and even had the approval and confirmation of family and friends that I had every right to act the way I had been acting. I even came up with the excuse that…that’s just me…I’m an independent who doesn’t plan things or call friends to go out and have coffee or just hang out. Well my dear friend, it has been pointed out to me that I was being lazy. I wasn’t pulling up my end of the friendship and the friendship ultimately fizzled out.
I have heard it said multiple times over the past few weeks that, “forgiveness is not for the other person, but for you.” I believe this wholeheartedly. When we chose to forgive, or in my case humble ourselves and ask forgiveness, we allow ourselves to let go and move forward.
If you are struggling with forgiving someone or asking forgiveness, I pray that God would give you the strength. It’s not going to be easy and if you’re the one seeking forgiveness, it might not work out like you hope. I say do it anyway. By holding onto your request for forgiveness you steal someone else’s opportunity to choose to forgive and move forward.
I would love to hear from you…
What have you found most difficult about giving forgiveness or asking for it?