At one point in my life, and for quite some time, I had been holding grudges against certain people. In my own eyes, I felt all the right to feel this way. They hurt me, wronged me, let me down, and didn’t appreciate my genuine intentions and motives towards thriving relationships with them. I had high expectations, great plans, and hopes for the future. However, all these expectations were smashed the moment they were not met.
I was so devastated for the longest time, not just because of being let down, but also because I could not speak out. And even though I am a very confrontational person, I could not confront anyone due to certain circumstances, at the time, that hindered me from doing so. And as a result of not being able to release what was on my chest, the anger increased, the hurt got doubled, and the buildup of resentment reached its peak.
I did pray about the whole situation on and off for a long time. However, my feeling of bitterness was prevailing. Without paying much attention, this resentment began to creep in my life and even affected some of the relationships I had with others. I allowed for this to traumatize me, and after I was so open with people, I started to take a step back, isolated myself and avoided getting deep with new people entering my life.
After a while, I realized that I was the one losing. I was bitter, full of resentment, and self-pity. While on the other side, these people had no idea what was going on with me. They probably even didn’t know there was anything wrong. They went on with their lives just fine. It was me who was leading a miserable life dictated by this trauma. This couldn’t have lasted any longer. After dedicated prayers, I was able to muster some courage mixed with special grace and strength. I decided that I won’t continue on like that. I took control and decided to give up any thoughts of revenge or punishment. I decided to forgive!
In a world filled with emotion-driven actions, I was not feeling like forgiving. There was no desire, whatsoever, to forgive without even a courteous confrontation. However, I was reminded by what spiritual, wise people always preach on real love; “it is not a feeling but rather an action.” Love is a decision you make and a commitment you strive to keep. I realized that this can apply to forgiveness, as well. I gathered that I don’t have to confront my wrongdoers for this bitterness to go away, but rather to forgive them from within, and trust that God will strengthen me to do so.
And I won’t lie to you, it was so difficult to make this decision. It felt like almost giving up a part of me. However, God is so good. At this instant, He reminded me of when Jesus Christ came down from His glory to save us. He was genuine about our salvation. He had plans for the Jews and wanted to give them freedom and life, but they did not appreciate all that He had done for them. Instead, they wanted Him killed. He could have avenged, He could have stricken them, or He could have canceled everything and went back to His glory. Though, He continued on with his mission. He forgave them and asked The Father to excuse and forgive their sins for their lack of knowledge and understanding. He accepted to die even for those who caused His death.
I was so touched by this revelation and apprehended how prideful I am. If my Master, the King of Kings, the Lord of Hosts had given up his ultimate glory and accepted to be humiliated for the sake of saving His humiliators, won’t I, the slave, forgive others for a misunderstanding or mistakenly setting high expectations on my end? I felt so ashamed of myself for wasting so much time of my valuable life over holding grudges and not enjoying the unlimited blessings I am showered with every single day. And on the spot, I asked God to give me the strength and grace I need so that I can forgive. And sure enough, He did!
Even though this whole experience was hurtful and painful, very profound life lessons were learned, indeed. I learned not to set expectations of anyone or anything. I learned that if I want to give, I should only do so if I can hold myself from expecting to receive anything in return. I learned to give people excuses for being stupid, as my spiritual mentor once told me. I learned to forgive because it’s the best thing I can do to myself. Being in peace with yourself and others, despite their wrongdoings, is the best gift one could have. I learned that I am not better than my Master. And for me to be forgiven for my stupid actions and wrongdoings, I should also forgive others. And finally, I learned that forgiveness is an action, a decision, even if I don’t feel like it.