"As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”
Forgiveness is an f-word that most of us certainly don’t want to hear. However, after reading such a quote, it propels you to self-reflect and think about forgiveness or the lack there of and its costs. This year, as challenging it is, I have endeavored to leave unforgiveness behind. Don’t get me wrong, I have forgiven many people but there have been situations that have really challenged this resolve, especially as it relates to the past.
You know what? Forgiveness is hard. I think one major issue for me is greatly one of memory. I have a very keen memory—the kind that is photographic in nature; able to recall: times, conversations, and details, DETAILS, and more DETAILS. I don’t forget.
Forgiveness isn’t simply forgetting what happened. It is intentional and it takes time. It is continually deciding to let go of your pain, hurt, negative memories so that you can be free. Forgiveness takes work. Your feelings may not even line up with your decision to forgive but for your own freedom’s sake, you must release your grievance.
At Kelyn’s funeral, I shared these words regarding forgiveness:
You know, funerals have a way of bringing people together in the way that it places you right in front of reconciliation to make a decision about how to proceed. It’s such a vulnerable and reflective time and with the reality that life is fleeting; forgiveness is waiting at the wings to be dispensed. But like my counselor once told me, forgiveness is a gift.
Every time I think of this last line from my speech, it hits me like a Mack truck. When someone hurts you, even if it is someone who loves you, you often want to repay them or make the feel the gravity of your pain. But what if he/she never apologizes? What if the person is deceased? What if you just don’t want to forgive? What if...? For your own freedom, what must you leave behind?
Despite how I feel or how wrong I feel a person is/was, I know that I am tired of carrying the pain and hurt of yesterday. I know that if I want to be forgiven, I have to let go of my unwillingness and forgive. (Matthew 6-14) Now, this doesn’t mean that we will go back to being the way we were before but it is my understanding that this is something required of me if I want to be forgiven. I realize that I must love myself enough to let go. I like to think of it this way—my heart to small to house negativity; there needs to be room for more love, good things, better relationships.
This blog post today, will also serve as a reminder of my resolve. I will try not to let the fact that I know that it is more difficult to carry this out in practice, keep me in bondage. Can you relate? If so, what will you leave behind as you journey to freedom.
New Jersey Native. Proud Haitian-American. UNC-Chapel Hill (First-Generation College) Graduate. Double Tar Heel who obtained a Doctorate from NC State. Educator. Devoted Daughter and Sister. Loving Wife and Mother. Lover of People. Photographer. Poet. Home Chef. Singer. Worshiper. Preacher and Motivational Speaker. Virtuous Woman. I am who I am by the Grace of God.