Thursday, January 12, 2012
I am reading A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser, I highly highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced loss. It is raw, it is tragic, and it is hope full. It is so raw that I am only able to pick up a few chapters at a time. I have to read, absorb, and apply before I can pick it up again. So last night I decided to engage in the next chapter. What was the next chapter...FORGIVENESS! I want to share some truly amazing insights from this book on forgiveness.
"Forgiveness is simply choosing to do the right thing. It heals instead of hurts, restores broken relationships, and substitutes love where there was hate. Though forgiveness appears to contradict what seems fair and right, forgiving people decide that they would rather live in a merciful universe than in a fair one, for their sake as much as for anyone else's. Life is mean enough as it is; they choose not to make it meaner." (A Grace Disguised, Jerry Sitter)
Forgiveness is truly one of the most difficult, one of the most painful tasks. You have to look entirely outside of yourself and choose to forgive. You give up your right to retaliate. You might think, oh I am a christian, I do not want to retaliate, I thought the same, but I do retaliate. It's not an eye for an eye, it's a slow fade. It's one little error that I magnify, it's that little mistake that I bring up again and again. It's the tone of my voice, it's the rolling of my eyes, it's the silence that I respond with. It's the buttons that I push, just because I can. These start out small at first, but before you know it you turn around and just like an avalanche you see it all piled up and rolling down hill...straight for you. The weight and the pressure of constant retaliation becomes an evil landslide of anger, hate, frustration. They all ball up and the effects of their demise bury you before you even know or understand what just happened. Forgiveness is the only escape, forgiveness will be my freedom. It's not just saying it out loud, that's easy, it's changing my actions, my reactions. God has shown mercy to me, I can learn from his example, I can pray for the bondage of unforgiveness to be broken. Each day step by step I can choose to react a better way, react in a forgiving way, a loving way.
"Unforgiveness makes a person sick by projecting the same scene of pain into the soul day after day, as if it were a videotape that never stops. Every time the scene in replayed, he or she relives the pain and becomes angry and bitter all over again. That repetition pollutes the soul. Forgiveness requires that we refuse to play the videotape and choose to put in on the shelf. We remember the painful loss; we are aware of who is responsible. But we do not play it over and over again. Instead we play other tapes that bring healing to us. Thus forgiveness not only relieves an offender from guilt; it also heals us from our sickness of soul" (A Grace Disguised, Jerry Sitter)
Three months tomorrow. Reflecting on the past three months. I wrap my head around this new person, this new life, these lessons I never thought I would have to, not only learn, but apply to my life, I realize that forgiveness is my freedom. Forgiveness for me isn't about the actual death of Kelsie, there is some there I understand that, but I also fully understand that it was truly an accident. Forgiveness for me is understanding that mistakes are going to be made both by me and by Jeff and others will say or do the wrong things. When I choose to suffer in silence, when I allow unforgiveness to settle into my soul, the anger, the hate and the frustration then just seep through my pores. My world becomes dark, my prayers become silent and the light that I long for becomes very very distant. So this morning I write with clarity and with hope that the words I write on forgiveness become my way of living. That today I begin to understand that healing is forgiving and forgiving is freedom. I begin to not only want to change my reactions but this becomes my new habit and that the anger, the frustration, the hate that currently seep from my pores eventually cease.
My prayer is that God's mercy wins. It wins my soul and it wins in your soul. Mercy is shown to us and so mercy it is that we show to others. Let my actions be merciful, when they are not I ask that my soul is pierced with self doubt and that I have clarity to understand that my actions were not that of a forgiving person. I need to see myself from the outside looking in and I need to see others from their point of view, so that I can understand when anger, hate, frustration are the driving force of my actions and or reaction. I am not perfect, not even close, please please let me feel that. Allow me to see and to feel my imperfections so that when others make mistakes I understand where they are coming from and forgiveness then becomes easy and love will be the driving force of my actions and reactions.