The Cost of Freedom
"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.
Bettie H Kingsberry
5/21/2020 12:44:53 pm
Dr. Francemise, I love your transparency, I love the way you describe how small our heart is and it's important to release a lot of hurt out and forgiveness is one of the ways to remove the hurt so new love and more love can come in to replace or mend the heart. I pray a lot of women will read your blog because I know they need it. A lot of women and men are to a shame of letting anyone know they have even been hurt or they feel people will call them drama queens or kings. I isolated myself out of shame but I had help in doing that. The people knew what was happening and even if this situation was hurting me it was also hurting my children. I didn't also want to be a part of hurt them because they were so young and didn't understand. So I took the hurt and it was never ending. When my children became teenagers they knew then but they were teenagers with teenager friends. So again I kept taking the hurt. We lost our house we were buying, family gathering, the church they were raised in and Baptized there. People knew and accepted it because I didn't act like what they thought Black women was suppose to act like. My concern was all about my two children, I worked for the State and I could not be foolish and lose my job or my children. Now they are grown and I am old. So for 43 years I have been a prisoner of my own doing / my freewill. I wasn't forced it was the bad choice I made. I am telling this in hopes that no one else will do what I did. Make changes even if children are involved. They are resilient and still can receive the love they need. Once you are Elderly it's real hard, finances have change,health issues have changed. The worse thing about my situation is the forgiving. There are so many to forgive. First one that I am working on is me. And Mr. IF and Mrs. WHY makes it even harder. What if I had did this or that. And why did I even want this or why did this happen to me, I am a good person? FORGIVENESS is freedom. Reaching those gates and stepping through them is a blessing.
5/22/2020 06:05:45 pm
6/1/2020 10:50:40 am
Working on it and with God's love and help I will be healed. Thank you, lot's of love
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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.