Monday, February 22, 2016

How to forgive old hurts when you're supposed to be acting like a grown up!

Last month, I was reading through my old journals and accidentally dredged up a memories of a friendship I was able to identify as unhealthy and hurtful.  It feels weird and silly to see how I got angry about how our relationship played out only years after the relationship ended, and the realization added a lot of weight to my life even after I put the journals back on the shelf.  Besides trying not to think about it, I had no idea how to resolve the unrest I'd brought into my heart.  It's not like I could interrupt this person's life, tell them how they hurt me, and then expect to feel better about it, right?  Right.  Very right.  Don't do that, Lindsay, you're a grown up.

I was able to talk with some friends last week about my dilemma.  Each of them are at least a few years older than me and have had their own hurtful relationships, too.  It was a comforting thing to remember that I'm certainly not the only one who's been through something like this and I'm not the only one who's made stupid friendship and relationship mistakes.  My friends reminded me that that's how we learn.  That's how we grow and discover more about ourselves and each other.  I don't have to be embarrassed, and I don't have to let this situation have control over me.

As for getting over the hurt and frustration and utter lack of closure, the only route I've found toward peace is through God.  I was taught a good deal about forgiveness growing up, but I was never very good at it.  Even now, I often have to forgive someone many times in my mind in order to continue letting go.  In this case, something's that's helped me significantly is releasing restitution and justice and any other responsibility over to God.  I'm not going to hold this person responsible for how they treated me anymore.  It's over and done.  What's happened has happened, and what will, will.

I believe that God will make everything right in the end.  He will heal my heart and He will heal the hearts of those I've hurt and who've hurt me.  One day, this frustration won't even be remembered, and when I put everything into this perspective, I can live with my stories and mistakes.  When I trust God to take care of me and my hurt and pain (and to take care of the other person, too), I don't have to worry about making others apologize.  It's freeing, as it should be.

image by NASA via Unsplash

I also believe that I have already been forgiven of more than I could ever pay for.  My relationship with and understanding of God is greatly humbling, and I hope to better live out what I believe through forgiving others and being a source of dependable grace and mercy.  I don't always act like a Christian should, but God help me, I will keep trying till my dying breath.

Whether we share the same worldview or not, I do hope that you find the freedom that comes with forgiveness, too.  May the best come your way.

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