When you read my story, you might be tempted to be angry at the people who hurt me. Don’t be. I’m not.
Remember, hurt people hurt people. As my story continues, you’ll see I wasn’t just on the receiving end of hurt, I was pretty good at dishing it out too.
I want you to know I forgive the people who hurt me. Sometimes I have to forgive them over and over. The Lord has forgiven me for every bad thing I’ve ever done. He calls me to forgive others the way He’s forgiven me. So I strive to do what’s right in His eyes. Sometimes it’s very challenging, especially because I tend to like to hang onto bitterness.
A perfect example is she never told me she loved me. As a child, her behavior told me she didn’t love me, didn’t want me around. When I finally left home, her behavior changed. She acted like she loved me after all. She never said the words, I love you until I moved away to Florida 10 years ago. I was 41 then. Even now, when she says those 3 little words, she sounds uncomfortable, hesitant.
It’s always bugged me. Am I so terrible as to be invisible, unloveable? I believed these lies most of my life. They shaped me, made me very unloving to anyone else I’ve met.
Then a counselor said one little phrase that helped me. She does love you, she just doesn’t know how to love you. Because she grew up in an abusive home herself.
She is who she is and I love her. I forgive her. She still makes me crazy but I will love her until the end of time.
I’ve also forgiven the man who abused me. Oh, as I continue my story you’ll see how I let bitterness for him build up over the years. But hey, guess what!? My bitterness and anger never hurt him. It only hurt me. Unforgiveness is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.
When I forgave him this huge black oil slick slid off me and I could breathe again. There is freedom in forgiveness.
We will never be friends, him and I. He still talks about me in negative ways. I still choose to forgive him. He hasn’t changed at all since the day I met him. He is a sad, addicted, angry man. I pray for him to be set free the way the Lord set me free.
Forgiveness. It’s powerful. And it’s worth choosing all the time.