Love In A Big World: The power of forgiveness

September 15th, 2017

Confession: My name is Tamara. People have hurt me, and I have hurt people.

We hurt each other with our words, attitudes, and actions — sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. But… if we hold onto every little thing that people do to us, we build a wall around ourselves; we don’t let anyone get close. We may think that we are punishing others for the wrong they did to us, but we only end up hurting ourselves. We wind up lonely.

Forgiveness is putting another’s wrongs behind, letting go of anger over a wrong. I find myself regularly needing to forgive people who have hurt me. Sometimes the hurt is from the past. Sometimes I’ve even forgiven the person for the same thing many times before. But if that person comes to mind and there is a twinge of pain, I know there is more forgiving I need to do. Forgiveness brings freedom to our hearts and our relationships.

Whether we like it or not, the people we know shape us and our view of the world. We owe it to them and to ourselves to keep our relationships in order. I don’t have all the answers. Some of us have been through some pretty horrible things with people, and we wonder how we can ever work it out. Even if we never see some of the people who have hurt us the most, we can work through this process in our own hearts in order to be free of the pain.

There is a fine line between love and hate. The people we love the most are often the ones that hurt us the most. That hurt binds us like a chain. Whether we’ve been hurt by divorce, death, mean words, jealousy, betrayal… whatever our story may be, we need to work through things with the people in our big world, at home, at school and in the workplace. Put away the harsh words, dirty looks, hard heart, the anger. Instead be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving. We can be free of the pain. We have to talk it out, let others know what we are thinking and feeling. No accusations, just saying, “When you (name what they did), it made me feel (share how it made you feel).”

And if you and I have offended someone we can go to them and say “I am sorry for (name what you did). I was wrong. Please forgive me.” We can’t let them get by with saying “That’s okay.” It’s not okay. We hurt them. Let’s work toward forgiveness.

Have you ever apologized to your kids this way? You're probably thinking, "No! Why should I do that?" Although parenting is a superhuman job, we parents are human. We make mistakes, and we end up hurting those we love the most. We need to own up to those mistakes and tell our kids we're sorry. Children are quick to forgive, and their forgiveness is sweet to our soul. How swiftly the problems of the day fade away when we are embraced by our children!

I know it’s scary to be so vulnerable, but let me tell you from experience: people are worth the risk required to love. And so are you. There is such power in those simple words, “I’m sorry…and I forgive you.”

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