Learning to Let Go: Forgiving Others 70X7 ~ Amanda Allison, M.Ed.
The feelings of resentment and anger are always the same: A churning stomach, a mind full of things I should have said or will say, heart racing, and sometimes tears. It’s natural to feel this way when someone has said or done something cold or callous to us - especially when undeserved and unexpected. It is especially hard when we are at our most vulnerable and someone seemingly kicks us when we’re down. That type of hurt can be gnawing and steadfast.
The Pain Resides With THEM Not YOU:
Thinking deeply about why someone would stoop to a low level of criticizing, name-calling, or minimizing your ordeals often means that the person himself or herself is quite low on the social and emotional totem pole of life. This is especially true if the attacks and callous remarks are aimed at “loved” ones. I place love in quotations as perhaps this person, quick-tongued and heard-hearted may not really know how to love another person. How tragic and pitiful. Abuse is not love. Insults are not love. Passive aggression is not love. Planned hurtful attacks towards another are not love. Bitterness and jealousy are not love. Cheating is not love. Arrogance and haughtiness are not love. Competition is not love. Someone who practices these behaviors towards others regularly - especially family members - is clearly not of sound mind or soul. Have pity on their lowliness of character. Their worlds likely become smaller and smaller as fewer and fewer people choose to interact with them. Like shrapnel and destruction strewn about on a war-ridden road, the path of their lives is riddled with many broken, deserted relationships. Anyone who truly knew these dark people left. Only shallow relationships, if any, remain.
It’s Always YOUR Fault, Never Theirs:
Instead of blaming themselves for this sad result of a pathetic life, they likely blame others for their smallness of character and their small world. What a sad and painful place to be in life when choosing hatred and bitterness toward another instead of patience, kindness, and support - especially when another is fragile and in desperate need of these things. Rise above. You are not to blame for being hurt. Know this and heal your hurts with love. Love yourself and love others. You are worthy of great love.
We know how true love from another lifts us up and holds us tight in our strife. The Bible from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 explains that, “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” These beautiful words help us to know and understand what true love is.
They May NEVER Change: But YOU Can:
Sometimes people surprise us and actually change! It’s heavenly! It happens. Rarely though. The only way one can really change the essence of their character is by the grace of God and His whisperings through the Holy Spirit. No other human can really inspire a complete overhaul of another person’s essence. It is a daunting task. We can try. We can show them how much they hurt us. We can explain it to them time and again until we breathe our last breath. However, most people with such deep character flaws are incapable of realizing the error of their ways and changing for the better. It would take divine intervention and perhaps a near-death experience to really enlighten them. Know that you can admonish these sinners, show them how wrong their hurtful ways are, but the real change is up to them. You can then go forth, kick the dirt from your shoes, and leave it up to them. It is their choice to change.
The person who habitually harms you needs to do some deep soul searching. Hurtful people then need to take on the arduous and painful journey of really seeing how he or she affected the lives of others in their bitterness. After this consternation, these very people need to make the choice to change themselves. You cannot do this for them.
Learn From Others:
Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to see the error of their ways and choose not to behave that way yourself. Sometimes other people show us, through their actions and words, how NOT to be ourselves. Choose instead to love deeply and have compassion. Choose to surround yourself, when you can, with kind and beautiful people who embody these characteristics and make you a better person. Do not give hurtful and pitiful people the power to drag you down with them into their small murky lives of darkness, bitterness, and resentment. Refuse to adopt their evil outlook and selfish cruelties. They often lie and hurt so often that they themselves do not realize the extent of what they do. These lies and hurtful ways reside deep in the essence of their character. Hurting is routine for these people. They are often oblivious to when and how they hurt others. Choose to be different. Be better. Be stronger. Be full of light. Be loving.
We All Make Mistakes:
No one is perfect. We all have had moments when stressed, overwhelmed, sad, or hurt in which we say or do things we later regret. Regret is what sets us apart from those who make hurting others their lifestyle. We, on the contrary, feel horrible for what we did. We can make mistakes and say the wrong thing in the heat of a disagreement. It happens to the best of us. We want to make things right. Apologize for your words or actions. Practice apologizing. It gets easier to say each time we accidentally hurt another in the heat of a moment. Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness. Hug. Move on and try your best not to let it happen again. Apologizing is also a beautiful element of character. Don’t allow a misunderstanding to hurt a good relationship. Work through it together. Talk. Sometimes a good spat can lead to deeper love and understanding. Grow in the light and love of forgiveness. Part of the process of becoming a beautiful person is taking the practice of forgiveness daily into our lives. We all are guilty at some point in time. We all falter. Choose to forgive.
Don’t Let Darkness In:
However, there are very dark people who ruminate and fester. They live and thrive in this darkness. They plan to hurt with precision. They know ahead of time what they will do and say to their target. They execute their plan flawlessly to inflict the most pain. They plan their assault days, weeks, months, or even years ahead of time. It is who they are. These are the people to pity. Planned hurts toward others come from a very dark place. These are often the people who are the hardest to forgive.
The great challenge of forgiveness awaits you. Take it on! Practice forgiveness each day. You are not this kind of dark person. You may even have to say out loud, “I forgive you.” Show them your strength of character through accepting this challenge to forgive them. It is a strength they themselves may never know in their smallness.
Surround Yourself with Beautiful People:
When I say “beautiful” I am not talking about someone on the front cover of Vogue. I am talking about those people who are so good, so kind, so gentle, so patient and so loving from the inside out that they radiate beauty and light. They are out there. Those are the people who bolster us when down and help us to be better ourselves through their example of love and light. We will want to be more and more like these beautiful people ourselves. Be with people who make you better in life, not worse. Choose to be truly beautiful yourself!
70X7: What a Beautiful Challenge:
When asking the Lord how much one should forgive another, the Lord replied, “70X7.” That’s 490 times! Ugh! That’s a LOT of forgiveness we must have towards someone who routinely hurts us. This is surely a difficult challenge, but a beautiful one. It takes strength of character and a deep love of thy neighbor. Forgiveness and letting go may be a choice one has to make daily. Consciously, you make have to wake and choose to say out loud, “I forgive this person for hurting me.” Then choose your enlightened path. Choose to not harbor resentment and anger towards this person. This only hurts you, your stomach, your thoughts of the day, and resides inside you in a perpetual state of anguish. Don’t start another day like this. Let all of it go. Be kind when you see this person. Interact as necessary. Misery loves company is a common phrase. Don’t give them any more company than necessary to honor and serve them with kindness. Pray for them. Be grateful you chose to not be like them. Then resume your life of beauty and light with others that are beautiful on the inside like you! Enjoy your day!