I read something recently on the Megan Meiers Foundation Facebook page. (They are an anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying non-profit.) Their post said, “Forgiveness requires a lot of courage.” I couldn’t shake this truth from my mind. It stuck around and nagged at me. You see, I’m not sure about you but I really hate getting hurt. I value respect and kindness. I tend to judge others pretty harshly in relation to these qualities. When someone falls short on my perfection scale, I hold onto that anger in order to protect my heart. Somewhere, along the way, I developed this coping mechanism. I’m not entirely sure why I do this as I’m far from perfect in these areas. I’m as guilty as anyone in terms of harshness, disrespect, and/or lack of sensitivity.
I’m working on it. But I imagine everyone else is too. I’ve held onto anger from multiple failed friendships. Refused to forget rejections. Compulsively remembered all the times I wasn’t invited to the coffee trip or movie. Taken offense at any amount of harshness. The worst flaws I see in myself I doubly hate in everyone else. Despite the fact that some of my biggest struggles center around my lack of gentleness and kindness. I hate those qualities in myself therefore I hate them in others. However, living with an angry heart doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Joy and anger don’t mix. Community and grudges are at complete odds. One of the key factors that makes Jesus so ridiculously awesome is His forgiveness. He forgave me for innumerable sins. He forgives me for every rejection. He forgives every wandering step and stumble. He forgives me for all my anger and brokenness. He accepts me as I am. No matter how many times I fail Him He always forgives me. I can always come back to His loving arms.
What if I started treating people this way? What if I forgave instead of holding on? What if I gave grace to the people who have hurt me? Jesus certainly did.
So I choose to forgive the one who walked away from our friendship.
I choose to forgive the one who slowly stopped caring.
I choose to forgive the group who never invites me when they hang out.
I choose to forgive the perceived slights I hold onto.
I choose to let go of the anger and hurt I wear like a shield.
Forgiveness does take courage. It’s hard to tear down walls. It’s terrifying to leave your heart exposed to pain. Forgiveness leaves wounds open and vulnerability hanging out in the wind. But it also means peace. It lets community grow. It allows for relationships. It allows for mess. This is life.
I invite you to join me in forgiving and letting go. I invite you to join my crusade for bravery. I invite you to let yourself love others again.