Recently I stumbled upon some pictures I had taken in college. In one I was with my friends dancing at a hoedown. In another I was holding up a french fry shaped like a cross! As I clicked the right arrow button, my heart immediately sank. In front of me was a seemingly meaningless picture of someone holding a drawing of an eggplant in Goodwill, which their outfit comically matched. My mind raced.
- To give up resentment of or claim to requital for
- To cease to feel resentment against (an offender)
In essence, forgiveness is letting go. It is letting go of all that has been done to you. All the pain and horrible words, all the betrayal and gut-wrenching lies. Often it is said that forgiving releases you, as withholding it won’t harm the offender. But what if the offender is you?
I had forgiven this person long ago. It was, and still is, on my heart to build that bridge that was destroyed, but sometimes caring about a person isn’t getting what you want, but respecting their wishes instead. Forgiveness #1, check.
Forgiveness #2, oh my sweet friend, I wish.
I had to step back and evaluate myself with one simple question. Would I want to be around me during (insert amount of time, relationship, life happening, etc) this friendship?
On that specific day? Yes. Months before and after? Yes. Closer to where our friendship ended? Not even close. I welled up with tears, thinking of my wrong doings. The offender in me recounted everything. Sting upon sting hit my heart. How could I forgive myself for these transgressions?
I don’t know. I have tried to make things right, yet it seems as nothing in the situation has changed. It still rips me apart. It’s embarrassing. I want a do-over. I want to show people that I made a mistake. Have you been there?
I’ll tell you what I do know though.
- I will trust God Psalm 62:8
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14
- I can have peace Isaiah 26:3
- I am loved All over the Bible!
Because I can trust God, I hold steadfast to Him. Because I am fearfully and wonderfully made I know I am more than this. Because I can have peace, I sow peace in my other friendships. Because I am loved, I love those who have also made mistakes.
I am not my mistakes and neither are you. My dear, YOU are a new creation because of Christ. Every single day you wake up, you are made new. I need to say this over myself more, I write this for you and for me: Your mistakes do not define the amazing, gorgeous, peaceful, strong, perfect you that God created.
We cannot hold this embarrassment and shame over our heads forever, even if those you’ve harmed do. I’m still learning this. The pain may still hit to your core, but know that you are more.