““To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” -Lewis B. Smedes
Of all the things I have struggled with, it’s being wronged I get the most trouble with. I have a tendency to dwell on things – and a way that information floods in at me when I think of one possible concept, like being hurt. Sometimes, I think of a wrong somebody did to me, and all the pain and hurt of every wrong comes to me, to torment me. It’s like a literal tsunami, only with information, instead of water. It even hurts at times, especially when someone wrongs me. So, in this vein, I can only turn to one thing: forgiveness. Forgiveness is certainly not easy, since the consequences of that wrong can stay with you for a lifetime, but it certainly does not excuse the injustice. I am forgiving those who have wronged me, slowly, and surely, so all this grief work is taking up a lot of my mental time and focus. There is a lot of work going into forgiveness, since it involves setting anger aside, saying goodbye to it, grieving out the pain, and then accepting the results. I will go into it with this considering my own experiences.
I held a grudge against the people who bullied me a long time ago. It’s been almost twenty years! I was bullied, right up into my senior year of high school. It seems now that they don’t affect me at all. In fact, many of them have come to apologize. It helps to forgive, to not let the pain of the past come into your present. Of course, bullying has its consequences. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder later in my life. That’s ironic, you say. How can you forgive when they literally drove you crazy? That has been one of my larger challenges. The nightmares remind me of the wrong they committed, while forgiveness lets me know I do not have to dwell on it. At least I can figure out how to get away from them in the daylight. There are also ways to get away from them in the nighttime, but I still need to learn those. I admit, I am not perfect. I am trying, though. I don’t want the bitterness and resentment that has taken so much of my life away take any more. I am tired of being alone. I am tired of having no real friends. I am tired of having too much to complain about, and no real solutions. Most of all, if I am ever to go back to southern California, I want to know there is a fresh, clean slate to go back home to. I need forgiveness to get me back there.