Sunday, April 19, 2015

When You Don't Want to Forgive Them

 Most people are trying to be good. Most people will respond to a smile. Most people like ketchup with their French fries.

Most people are also selfish. They are slow to forgive. And they never, ever forget when someone does something mean to them.

None of this is surprising. When someone breaks up with us, crashes our corvette, or never gives back the Star Wars DVDs we loaned them, we get angry. When people who have hurt us never say that they are sorry, we get ticked off. We know we are supposed to forgive our enemies, but sometimes they just don’t deserve to be forgiven. They should be begging on their knees and offering to shave their head in penance for us

"We are NEVEREVEREVEREVER getting back together!"
 I don’t read the Bible as much as I should, and whenever I get to the parts in the Gospels that talk about forgiveness, I get a little nervous. Forgive others or God will not forgive us? The measure with which we measure will be measured out to us? And worst of all,  Jesus, dying in agony on the cross, pardoned the men who spat on Him and scourged Him by saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

How in the hell could Jesus, delirious with pain, covered with spittle, bleeding to death while people laughed—possibly forgive those assholes? They didn’t deserve His forgiveness. They didn’t even want it. And I’m sure, even though the Bible doesn’t say so, that they hurled His words of pardon right back into His face, mimicking Him and mocking Him until the very end.  

I certainly wouldn’t have forgiven those jerks. I’m sure you wouldn’t have either. Good thing we’re not Jesus!

I’m sure Jesus didn’t feel like forgiving those people either, even though He is God. With one word, He could have zapped them all with a lightening bolt, reduced them to dust, and melted them like the Nazis who dared to look at the Ark of the Covenant in that cheesy Indiana Jones movie. But He uttered that statement of forgiveness not just for Himself, but to show us that forgiveness is always possible, even in the worst of circumstances. 

" were saying about positivity?"
 Probably none of us will be called to forgive our murderers. Jesus pardoning these wicked and undeserving men makes our holding a grudge against our ex-significant other look like a joke in comparison.

If we don’t forgive others, it doesn’t hurt them—it only hurts us. How? By poisoning our relationships with other people further down the road. If we don’t forgive the boyfriend or girlfriend who dumped us, the pain we carry will negatively affect our next romantic relationship. If we don’t forgive a friend who betrays us, it will prevent us from having deep and trusting friendships in the future. When we carry our agony, our regret, our grudges deep inside us, locking them in our hearts, it will slowly eat away at our peace, our freedom, and our ability to love.

If you can’t bring yourself to forgive someone for their sake, do it for yourself. Forgive them so you can move on and be the free and joy-filled person you are supposed to be. This doesn’t mean that everything will suddenly be okay, that you will no longer experience feelings of anger or sadness when this person walks by. These feelings are natural because we are human. But feelings do not and should not dictate the peace of your soul. Let them roll off you like water droplets. 

Being shirtless is optional...


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