Why should I forgive someone who has broke my heart? Why should I forgive the person I loved that cheated on me? Why should I forgive the father of my child who would not spend time with our child or pay child support? Why should I forgive a person that beat me down with words and broke me down physically and emotionally? Why should I forgive parents who were hateful, never showed love to me or abused me? Why should I forgive someone who lied about me? Why should I forgive someone who raped me? Why should I forgive someone who molested me? Why should I forgive someone who betrayed me? Why should I forgive someone who stole from me? Why should I forgive someone that murdered someone in my family? Why??????
I tried to think of all the things that people do where we are cracked and broken emotionally inside and these are the things that came to my mind. The paragraph above is DEEP! That’s a lot of hurt and any one of those things can cause us pain and misery. I never knew what the concept of forgiving someone really was till I had to suffer through a devastating betrayal in my 20’s. Let me tell you, women may say they forgive but they never forget… Heard that before? It’s true, women are emotional creatures while men are physical creatures. We hurt and are crushed much more easier than a man can be. We really have to dig in deep to get any emotion out of a man. But, we as humans can get hurt by a mate, friend, coworker, parent, etc. and let it sit inside of us and slowly rot us and mold us into a person that is miserable. Miserable in life, miserable at work, miserable in every possible way in life. You heard of negative Nancy? Yeah…..they are out there and we can see those right off the bat. What we don’t see is the hurt that is behind the smile of your parent, child, friend, coworker, spouse…we don’t see the damage that they hide so well in their day to day lives. They cover up the hurt and move on, but the hurt on the inside is slowly breaking them down, and we all are unaware of what that person is actually dealing with on the inside.
I’m going to tell you about my betrayal of a spouse, well, he cheated on me. The hurt that accompanied that action was something that I was NOT expecting. When you first find out that your spouse has been unfaithful this huge hole is inside you. It’s like you can’t swallow, you feel like someone has shot a hole right through your body, you cannot eat, you cannot sleep, day to day functioning is nearly impossible. You get up and go to work with swollen eyes, you don’t talk, you cannot wait for the day to end so you can go home and boo hoo your eyes out. Sulk in your misery…wrap yourself in the hurt that you feel. Yes, I know what that feels like. I know what it feels like to talk and talk and talk about how he hurt you because that’s the only way you can deal with the flood of emotions that is raging through you. I understand!
So, he cheated on me…I lost weight ( I could not even swallow food…ya know I was bad off, cause this girl likes her food!!), I swore off men, I focused on my career and our child. I was bitter, yes BITTER as a woman could be. I wanted him to hurt like I hurt and trust me…if I was in a mood, I certainly was going to call him and fuss at him about the things he did or does wrong until I felt better. The weird thing is he would listen to me. I didn’t get that….I guess he felt that was part of his punishment..I don’t know…but he listened and I tore into him like only a scorned woman could. Did I notice that I was calling him to vent when things were going bad in my life? NO! I’m talking we were split up at least 2 years before I stopped calling him to vent. I started going to church when we first split up, I made a total change in my life. I took my child to church, I looked for answers in my faith. I can remember praying day after day after day for God to give me JOY! I didn’t care about money, love..I just wanted JOY! I wanted to smile again, a real smile, not a fake one. I wanted to be happy again. And boy let me tell you I prayed and prayed and then I prayed more! I prayed so much and so long that I didn’t even notice when I actually had joy. I remember walking into my mom’s house after a late night of work and I walked through the door singing. SINGING!!! I’m not talking about singing a “somebody done somebody wrong song”, I’m talking I was singing…literally..I Got A Feeling, Everything Is Gonna Be Alright Song. (That’s a real song by Walt Mills…it was my theme song then and still my go to song when I am in doubt or feeling down). My mom is the one that pointed out that I was singing….then it hit me that I had moved on from the hurt of his betrayal. I can forgive him….wait what? Forgive…….I’m not quite ready for that. I’m still mad!
I continued on in my career advancing and spending time with my son, he was my world, the one thing I had that got me up each day. For him I raised in the morning, for him I pushed my hurt to the side and played with him. For him I breathed each day…..little did I know that this child, this son, this little 3 year old child was sent to me for purpose. A purpose to live and love and laugh. He was my standing Friday night date, yes..we went out to eat every Friday night, we went to the movies together, we played games together…he was my best friend for at least 2 years. He saved me long before I ever had to save him. (My Journey to Saving Him will Come in a Later Blog). So, as each day went by I was reading the Bible, talking with my mom, learning all I could about spiritual things. All that I could process mentally, hungry for answers and it was the ” forgiving is for you, not the offender” thing I was having a real problem with. I said I forgave, but I didn’t. I held on to that hurt like a dog holding on to a bone….
Even though I was joyful, I was still carrying around this baggage with me. I was still holding resentment in my heart towards this man that betrayed me. I despised a cheater, I despised a liar, I despised men that would flirt with you, talk trash, cat call, whatever you want to call it. I absolutely could not stand it. Do not flirt, some on to me, even look me up and down..oh my Lord….I literally loathed men at the time. And you could bet I was walking away from any man that even came near me….that was when I started to learn to love me, when I was alone and relationships and marriage were nowhere in my mind, I learned to live with me and love me and accept me for who I really was. So, I talked with my mom almost daily about the forgiving stuff. I mean I couldn’t grasp the concept of forgiving and forgetting. How could I forget? This dude really broke my heart, threw it on the ground then crushed it with his shoe….I wasn’t ready to give him a free ride!!! I remember the night that it all came together for me, my mom and my Aunt Wanda was at my house and boy we were in deep conversation about men….I mean DEEP ladies! You know what I’m talking about. Then we began talking about forgiveness and my mom looked me dead in the eyes and said, “Honey, God has asked you to forgive so YOU will be freed from the hurt and betrayal, It is for you — not the offender”.
Ya’ll I had to ponder on this for days, no months….How the heck can I feel better if I forgive someone completely? So I started really searching and reading books, I wanted to know WHY and more importantly HOW!! Forgiveness only means that we have come to peace with the pain and we are ready to let go. What??? Ok, Forgiveness is something we DO for ourselves, not forgiving someone is equivalent of staying trapped in a jail cell of bitterness, serving time for someone else’s crime. Now that…I can grasp! I also know that we must forgive others to be forgiven of our sins…but gracious it is hard sometimes! And with some hurt it seems nearly impossible….but in time it can be.
What I realized and learned was forgiveness didn’t mean what happened to me was OK, and it didn’t mean that the person that hurt me should still have the privilege of being in my life. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean that you have to start hanging back out with them….they can be at a distance…sometimes that’s best! I don’t need no drama, nor do I need someone dragging up something that was so painful that I would have to relive that every day and sink back down into that ugly hole of misery!!
I learned that when I forgave him for his betrayal, I only made the choice not to dwell on the pain HE inflicted on me. He was not worth the bitterness I felt, nor did I want to give him power over me or my life one more day. Uh..NO! He took enough, he surely wasn’t going to continue to steal my joy…I was determined that my life would be mine and he would not have any hold on me anymore. I would not bear his shame, nor would I stay in an emotional jail because of him when he in reality should be the one feeling bad! Not me!!
I learned that weak people cannot forgive, forgiveness is an attribute of the strong, Well, I looked at myself as a strong woman, a strong mother, independent and industrious! It takes a strong person to face pain head on and forgive and release. ( I mean STRONG!!!…..and trust me, its easier said than done, but it CAN be done!).
I learned that forgiveness is the highest, most beautiful form of love. I loved my son, that little fella that kept me going. I loved him enough to forgive his dad and be a happy mom for him. Even though there was an absence of an apology, it was absolutely essential for me to move on. The last thing I wanted was to be bitter and have hate in my heart…..that could and possibly would steer my life down a road I did not want. I wanted to have a smile on my face and I did. I have always heard that I smile all the time, I’m a happy person, but what if I let that betrayal take control over me? Would people look at me and say, she’s a bitter ole lady, hates her life, wants everyone miserable because she’s miserable? No, I did not want that! And you guys know there are people out there that are JUST LIKE THAT!!! And I bet a dollar to doughnuts you aren’t beating their door down to go hang out with them!
So, I learned all these things, I read the Bible, I read books on the subject and I prayed. I found that joy and I found out how to forgive someone who has wronged me. Was it easy? NO! Did it take time? YES!!! It is not an overnight solution by no means, it takes a lot of time and lot of soul searching. The one thing that helped me was this one thought…..why should I sit here and hurt and be mad or feel sorrow, all while he is out there living life like nothing is wrong? I took my power back, I took back my life and I kicked that ole devil right out of my house! Has he tried to get back in? Oh my Lord YES!!! Have I found myself falling back into the “you hurt me, I’m mad and I’m bitter” cycle? YES!!! I have to realize what I’m doing and I stop it right in its tracks. I don’t take responsibility for others sins, I take responsibility in the way I handle it.
if you have been hurt in life, and we all have, it is hard to forgive the big hurts. They scar us, but they make us stronger. They give us wisdom and they form a mature mind, and that’s what we need in order to give our own children advice that is wise and how to handle situations the right way. Slow to speak and slow to anger. Practice it daily! Think before you speak…I tell my kids this all the time, is it really worth hurting someone with your words? your actions? If someone asks for the truth then you give it to them, but just saying things and doing things for retaliation is WRONG!!! And I tell them….you aren’t ever going to get to heaven with that type of heart, that type of spirit. Humble yourself, forgive those that wrong you and most importantly show a spirit of love, compassion and forgiveness. Too much hurt is in the world, if you can make it better for one person each day then do it! Remember ladies and gentlemen, you cannot change what has happened to you, but you can change the way you handle it. After the hurt has happened, the rest is up to you on how you are going to handle it. You will either sulk and hold on to it and look for ways to hurt them back, or you will stop, think and take back your life and your emotions and not live tin that jail cell that was meant for the offender!! The forgiveness, the peace, the letting it go…..let God handle the punishment for the crime, it will be much more than you or I could ever inflict on someone. Forgiveness is for you…your mind, your heart, your joy, your life…..
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