Forgiveness

I hated a girl one time. I hated her so much that I would dream of her getting slick with me and being able to just punch her in the face one GOOD time. There was a reason for this hatred I felt. She belittled me, made me feel inferior, ugly, worthless and unloved. She even made me hate myself. All because I fed into her drama. She was mean to me so many times until I finally retaliated. This would just repeat over and over and over again after retaliating that first time. I kept thinking if I just say the right thing one of these times that she criticizes me, maybe she will realize how terrible of a person she was. Until one day I realized it was never going to stop. So I just stopped. I gave up on defending myself… I gave up on her… I gave up on trying to convince my friends and family that I didn’t start it. It was the biggest defeat I have ever had.

It wasn’t until right after graduating high school when I went to church I realized that even years after me accepting defeat, I was still being affected by her. The sermon was on forgiveness. I cried most of the sermon. I even cried during worship. I kept thinking of how much I hated this girl for making me feel so many horrible ways. After every  motivational question the pastor would rhetorically ask, I’d think, “is there anyway I can forgive her?” Every-time I would come up with a hundred reasons why I couldn’t. After every service, the other kids and I would sit and talk. After this service in particular, I just sat on the stairs with my best friend and cried. She knew why because she was there for me when I was going through hell. She also knew, I could not bring myself to forgive this girl, not even a little bit. The pastor saw me and my best friend and asked if he could join us. He then asked me, “Is there someone you are trying to forgive?” The obvious answer I wanted to say was, “Im not trying. I can’t”. Instead I just cried. I’m emotional… AND when someone asks if you are okay, it just makes you cry more. You know what I’m talking about! It’s almost like when someone asks if you are okay while you are crying. Does it look like I’m okay (continues crying harder)? That’s just how it is!

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Anyhow during the conversation with the pastor, I came to realize my heart was filled with so much hatred for her that I couldn’t see past myself. I kept thinking of all the ways she hurt me. What I didn’t think about was her home life. Why did she treat people the way she treated them? What made her think of all these cruel words? What did I really hate about her? I started to remember all the things she told me about her parents. I’m not going to go into detail about what she said because that’s not my story to tell. I will put it this way, they weren’t the best toward her, according to what she told me. I came to the consensus that this girl had no choice but to be malicious. I also noticed everything I hated about her, had to do with the names she called me and descriptions she had about me. I believed what she said and it made me hate myself.  So instead of saying I hated myself, I hated her.

I don’t want you to think that this girl had any excuse what-so-ever for being the way she was. Nobody has an excuse to be a bully and to make someone feel the way I felt. No matter how they were raised. What I do want you to think is, what other way did they know? These people who are bitter their whole lives and do nothing but belittle everyone around them did not grow up with the lessons some of us were so blessed to have. They probably feel the way they made us feel, their whole lives.

Forgiveness is a very difficult thing to come by. A few weeks after that conversation with the pastor, I asked the girl, to come to church with me. It had been about 3 years since our huge “drama-fest”. I believed that if she could come to church, see the way we all treat each other and learn the gospel then maybe she could become a better person. She didn’t end up coming with me, but she did apologize for all the trouble we had. She was working on her career and helping others. When I read the message, I felt a load of weight get lifted off my chest. I went to church the next week and spoke to my pastor about messaging her and he was so proud of me for being the bigger person.

I see this girls social media every now and then, and I don’t feel that burning sensation I used to have. I feel perfectly fine. Yes what she did to me hurt and I would never be friends with her again, but feeling forgiveness for someone feels so much better than hating them. Hating a person can take up so much energy and time. It fills you with darkness. I was so depressed when I hated that girl. There would be days I wouldn’t get out of bed to even turn the light on. There would be days I would seriously wonder why I was even alive. Those thoughts are the thoughts that can destroy you and lead you down a path of no recovery. Luckily, I got off that path.

On the other hand, you could be using that energy to be working towards your career or spending with your friends and family. You can feel joy, happiness and fulfillment in life when you forgive someone. I recommend that if you are struggling with forgiveness, you speak to your pastor, your parents, someone you look up to or even check out other bloggers who specialize in advice about forgiveness. There is one blogger I just found, not too long ago. His name is Wayne Dyer and has a post on, “How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You: In 15 Steps”. It is worth reading. You can click the link attached to the title above to read his blog.

The way I forgave was:

  1.  Learning what that person went through their whole life.
  2. Figuring out what is what I actually hated about the girl.
  3. Thought about ways I could forgive (mine was inviting her to church).
  4. Accepting an apology for even as simple as “Everything I did”. Even if they are specific on what they apologize for, at least they are apologizing. That means they are thinking about you.
  5. Forgive yourself
  6. Eventually feeling okay about seeing their name places or seeing their face in public occasionally.

I hope my story has encouraged you to open yourself up to forgiveness. If not my story, the ways I suggest for forgiving or the ways Wayne Dyer talks about. Forgiveness is so hard to give to someone but it will make you feel better. If I can do it, I know you can too!

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