Thursday, February 17, 2011

{Thankful Thursday}

Today I read something that provoked me. 

"When you forgive you say - I'm not a judge - I let go of pain - it could be me."
- Taken from Children of the Inner Light, Daily Inspiration.

Which is a more difficult thing to do? Carry the hurt over many years or try to forgive the offender? I'm thinking they are equally as hard. But on one hand, carrying the hurt over many years can be the knife that injures you, not them. We learn this the hard way, sometimes the destructive way. Every year we allow the knife to remain and dig a little deeper. Infection has well past set in. Nothing can heal if the damage is still allowed to occur. We not only have to stop the offender from offending us, but we have to stop being offended. Offense is a choice no matter how you spin it. Forgiving is the only way of pulling the knife out of your heart - handing it to the offender and walking away. At that point, it doesn't matter what they do with it. It's no longer yours to carry or or hurt over. The proactive choice was made to let go of the weight and the pain and move on with your life. Pride makes it a very hard thing. Injustice makes it a very hard thing. Hurt makes it a very hard thing. But sanity and progression and health make it a necessary thing.

Forgiveness means a lot of things, but let me tell you what it does not mean. It doesn't mean that you have to embrace the offender's life or their choices. It doesn't mean you don't learn from your injuries. It doesn't mean you allow repeat injuries. Forgiveness does not condone the allowance of someone to continue to hurt you anymore - it doesn't mean that y'all are best friends either. Rather it sometimes means that they are not even a part of your life. Forgiveness is a personal choice based on self preservation and truth. You do it for what you believe in. You do it for you. Not them. It's a part of what encompasses the toughest part of love - and you do it because you love yourself enough to. 

In life we are the offender and the offended. Different times, different roles. Some injuries much worse than others. None the less, none of us go without causing injury or sustaining it. So today I am thankful for forgiveness. For the times I've given it, continue to give it and continue to need it seeing as I am part of this big sea of humanity. Forgiveness is the granting and accepting lifeboat that continues to save us from drowning. And while it's sometimes a daily process of handing back the weight and the knife, I have found that the peace in letting hurt go overrides the temptation to hold onto it. I am thankful for all of the people in my life who have known forgiveness. For the influences they've demonstrated to me in sharing their own personal stories of forgiveness and freedom. For the encouragement it brings and the road it opens wide to the journey ahead.