That title had two parts: Trusting People Is Insane, but Forgiving Them Is Mandatory
Faith in man has made a fool of me. Over the years, I’ve given my heart and my faithful friendship to people whom I later discovered weren’t ready to be trusted with my confidence. It’s a painful experience that we can’t even fully mourn because the shame about how foolish we were takes over and makes us feel even worse. So, we decide to put it all in our past. After all, we reason, we are over it anyway! That person didn’t deserve our trust. Anyone who asks us hears about it. And now, we’re bashing and gossiping about someone who we had been willing to trust with our very lives. But there has to be a better way. Shouldn’t there be?
To begin with, let me share my old plan for dealing with betrayal. First, I acted like I never felt any love for the person even from the beginning. I told people I had kept the friendship out of pity. Then, to show how little love I had, I revealed all of their darkest secrets. I tore their image and reputation to shreds. If this person was going to treat a great friend like me badly, then that person was going to pay for it.
No, wait… I didn’t actually say it that way in my mind. Not even to myself. Instead, I told myself and other people that I wanted to expose their hypocrisy so that everyone else could avoid falling into their web of lies. I didn’t hate them. No, of course not. In fact, I still wished them the best, I said with a sorrowful look. Furthermore, I would even still help them if they ever needed me. I loved adding that part. Because I knew that I would never have to prove it. They were out of my life for good. Umm, that was true, until they somehow ended up back in my life. Then, my bitterness would show for everyone to see. Or, I’d finally have to suck it up and forgive for real, keep my promise, and act like a Christian.
Before that, I kept the bitterness hidden. How did bitterness stay hidden? Well, it slowed down the formerly loving responses I wanted to give my family when I disagreed with one of them. I would blow up over little things. I would lose patience with my husband and family. I would lash out at true friends. In the end, there was only one person who didn’t know that I was angry, bitter, and unforgiving — that would be me. I never quite figured it out.
Today, when you read that title, you probably had one image in your mind of someone who broke your heart. It’s ok. I do, too. In fact, I have several. And right now, I’ll tell you the most important truth. You need to release the debt that you believe that they owe you. My reason for saying this is cheesy, but also really important. You ready for it? It’s simple: You deserve to be free.
Tonight, I’m in my bed going over my list of people who still owe me a debt. And I am turning it around. I have committed so many errors, mistakes, and sins. God kept me anyway. So what gives me the right to think unfairly of another person? I have to make a decision to forgive, again and again.
If I’m really determined to forgive, why do I need to forgive more than once? Because my mind wanders. I get mad again. I remember the past. And I become a mess. So, since I don’t always let it go so easily, I’ll just keep trying until it sticks. Eventually, it works!
Okay, so what about you? This is your chance. Slip away from your old way of dealing with pain. Really think about what this person did to you. Mourn for a second. Weep and release the pain. Then, let them go. You’re going to be okay. If you keep forgiving them over and over again — until it sticks.
I love you guys like my very own brothers and sisters. God bless you all.