Originally published Friday, 07 June 2013.
If I told you how I felt--you might not forgive me.
This month's new theme is on forgiving others. And recently, I've felt lousy. I even posted this on Facebook last week:
"If you're afraid to say how you really feel for fear of losing the friendship, maybe (gulp) they were never a true friend to begin with!"
I felt I couldn't hold it in any longer. Thankfully, when I woke up early one morning I came across this life changing post from Donald Miller. He admitted to being too careful. He wrote,
"The sad thing is when we’re careful, we are actually being affected by fear. People are careful when there is a risk. But nobody respects somebody who is too careful. People love writers who give us permission to be ourselves and to express our feelings. Sure, they may fail every once in awhile, but we admire their freedom all the same."
I am a risk taker, which is the reason why I started writing and blogging in the first place.
I knew if I didn't take the risk of spending time in the Word daily and journaling out my frustrations--I might be tempted to commit suicide. I desperately needed to forgive others including myself for all the suffering that had, was, and would still take place. In Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me I share two personal stories.The first is a story of a friend whom I hurt. I did everything I possibly could to ask for her forgiveness according to Matthew 5:23-24. Because she wouldn't see or talk to me, I brought a dozen white roses by her work place to show her how sorry I was. The second story is about a friend who hurt me. Instead of forgiving her right away I decided to let her have it. My emotions got the best of me and I totally cussed her out on the phone and to her face. Honestly, I thought the roses would do the trick and my friend whom I lashed out at would choose not to forgive me. But in fact, the opposite was true.
That's the thing with forgiveness--you just never know who will accept your apology and who won't.
But that's not up to us, that's between them and God. We only have control over our actions. We are the ones commanded to forgive, even when the other person decides not too. Maybe your friend does forgive you at first, but ends up going back on her (or his) word. I know I have before. I'm definitely far from perfect. Forgiveness can be both a scary and exciting process. Thankfully we have Jesus as our guide. I'm glad I can say with confidence (yay!) that I'm in a healthy place in my life where I can finally be honest with my past sufferings. I have been holding on to so much past hurt, future fear, and present worry that it feels good to finally come clean (double yay!).
When we are in the midst of suffering it seems easier withhold forgiveness than to tell the person who hurt us how we really feel.
Because we're scared. I know--I've been there. Looking back, I'm g-l-a-d Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me is releasing this August. I started writing it when I was 19, and now that I'm turning 31 this month (June 24)--I'm finally ready. I cannot wait for you to read it, and not just because I get to share my whole story!
There's always a reason or three why God forces us to wait.
Maybe He waits years to reveal His will because we're not ready. Maybe He waits until we're fully healed so we can handle the truth. Or maybe things never end up making sense for whatever reason--either way God loves us and wants the best for us. That will never EVER change. If you're currently struggling to tell a friend, boss, family member, or whomever how you really feel for fear he or she might leave, fire you, disown you, or worse--I encourage you to speak up. Ask God to help you forgive. After all, we are all imperfect.
Even if you end up risking the relationship--at least you'll no longer be afraid!
To me that's worth more than a dozen white roses. I believe a true friend will forgive you for speaking your mind--even if you are wrong. [Photo: Shabby Chic, Creative Commons]