Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ATTEMPTING FORGIVENESS



Forgiveness.

What a simple thing to say or read, but what an ever-complex choice to put forth into the world.

It’s been the subject matter of a series of church sermons a month or so ago. A subject that has been weighing heavy on my mind since. I remember thinking to myself at the start of the series, “ah, calling me out again, are ya God?!”

As He always does.

Many people assume that forgiving family members is easier than forgiving friends and/or acquaintances. Personally, I think it is even more difficult.

I use to believe that family starts off with an innate love and trust, even if for no other reason than just being ‘family.’ Like the moment a child is born, they naturally attach to their parents and siblings…a bond that grows deeper with time. A bond we consider sacred.

This is not the case for some. More like an initiation process in some regards.

We have been rather routinely bruised by a family member, with whom we now limit encounters. This unexplained hurt at the hands of a family member makes me question everything I thought I once knew about ‘loved ones.’ And I continually feel forced to grin and bear it, attempting to maintain an illusion of family harmony when we get together for various family functions.

I think bitterness snowballs and the difficulty of forgiveness rises, when we feel that people deny and/or do not identify their wrong. Especially difficult when the person is a repeat offender over the years, with no remorse. Rather, beholds a grandiose perspective, confused by who they aspire to be and who they really are.

When Christ is the center of your relationship, forgiveness is easy and it can be a very humbling experience – this I know is true. But in some instances, bitterness continues to rear its ugly head and becomes a struggle to push away.

It was during this series that I made the choice to focus on Jesus and His forgiveness for me. He continually forgives me before I even acknowledge it. When I get to feeling upset or irritated about dysfunctional family dynamics, I’m making an effort to bring myself back to the foot of the cross. But it is far from an accomplishment and better labeled an attempt -- one I will continually strive to attain.

It is my prayer that whatever hurt you might have, that you meet it with Christ-like humility, love and forgiveness. And will you please pray the same for me?





12 comments:

  1. I struggle with this same thing, Mandi! Every time I have trouble forgiving someone close to me, especially family, I remember that Jesus has forgiven me over and over again. It's still hard for me to forgive people who don't seem to know they need forgiveness.

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    1. He’s heard many a prayer from me like this one, “Father, I cannot do this. I put the matter in your hands and ask you to forgive through me.” And he has never failed me. Rest assured, He won't fail you either. xoxo

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  2. Mandi, we must be sharing brain waves...the need to forgive family members has been pounding my heart for months..it really does boil down to Christ doesn't?

    Matthew 6:14-15 is also a great kick start towards forgiveness...

    Thanks for this post, and bless you in your endeavors to stand a little taller and be a little better and just let go and forgive (it's haaaarrrd but you can do it!)

    xo
    Jamey

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    Replies
    1. It really does boil down to Christ, Jamey. Otherwise, the struggle gets so deep that it stirs dissension on your heart and who wants that? Thank you for sharing this passage -- I'm not familiar with it, but I'm going to look it up.

      I appreciate your encouragement, and hope much the same for you! xoxo

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  3. I think this concept speaks to everyone. It helps me to remind myself that forgiveness is a choice I have to make every day. While "forgive and forget" sounds nice, it takes some serious daily commitment!

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    1. Oh boy does it ever! I used to think "I forgive you but I'll never forget." Though, I want to do both -- I find it so hard to look at someone lovingly when I keep in my memory their unloving action.

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  4. I think this concept speaks to everyone. It helps me to remind myself that forgiveness is a choice I have to make every day. While "forgive and forget" sounds nice, it takes some serious daily commitment!

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  5. Thank you for this post. This is just what I needed to read today.

    Forgiveness is something I struggle with. I am a bad grudge holder. I need to learn to let go and put Christ first.

    :]

    -Samantha
    http://substanceandsoul.tumblr.com

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    Replies
    1. You're not alone, Samantha -- the majority are in this same boat. I think it's closer to human nature to hold grudges, and closer to Jesus when we learn to forgive and let go.

      It’s not intentional, it’s just that we’ve been hurt, and forgiveness feels like letting someone off the hook, or pretending that it was okay that they did what they did.

      The irrational fear is that if we forgive, someone else will do “it” again—but the truth is, whether or not we forgive has nothing to do with controlling another person’s behavior.

      People do what they do. The only person to let off the hook is ourselves, by not concerning ourselves with monitoring someone else’s behavior, or replaying the past.

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  6. What a cute blog! I love this post, it is incredible and so eloquently written. You are an inspiration to so many. Can't wait to read your blog more.

    Xo,
    Ashley@powerofone
    www.ashleyfrederickson.blogspot.com

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  7. So timely...the most popular post on my blog is the one I wrote titled "If God Forgives Me Why Can't I Forgive Myself?" Just goes to show how much forgiveness, or the lack thereof, is such a problem in our culture or in our families. I get so much email about the subject and I am sure you do too! Or you will now! LOL! Beautifully said...
    www.hopeinthehealing.com

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  8. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! I agree.. it is so much harder to forgive family than it is anyone else. This is perfect! Thank you so much for posting!

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I am incredibly grateful for your comment! I will respond as soon as possible. XOXO, Mandi

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