I deleted a post on Facebook a few days ago not because I felt wrong or had changed my stance but because of where the thread went. I had voiced my distress and hurt over a situation. In the course of being too real, I was misunderstood. People processed what I shared through their own personal filters.
On social media I became hooked by relating to a friend’s pain. Because of a wound in my past I was sensitive to her situation.
As a young girl, an authority figure made me feel like a beaten puppy. Only wanting to please, I couldn’t understand what I’d done to receive their harsh words or actions. Yet I established a message from those words: They didn’t approve of me. I began to believe that I wasn’t worthy of love. But I didn’t want anyone else to know.
So I made a vow. I am never going to do something that will make people dislike me. I will always cover up the fact that I am not worthy of love. In that decision, I left God out. I am and I will, were both declarations that I didn’t need God for I would take care of this myself.
I then began using my self-made strategies to keep my vows well hidden. I will be a good girl so they can’t complain. I will gain other’s approval no matter what it takes.
Yet you become hooked in circumstances or situations and your little self-made empire of wrong beliefs and unwise vows resurface through a bloody wound that’s never healed.
That is what happened on Facebook. Interestingly, I had just reached a milestone in my walk of forgiveness and learned much on the subject about what forgiveness isand what it is not.
Forgiveness is not:
· Forgetting. (Some things you will never forget)
· Remaining the victim.
· Letting the offender off the hook.
· Denying reality.
· The same as reconciliation.
· A one-time event.
I thought that a sign of forgiveness was forgetting and I couldn’t forget. Also if kept it to myself, it will just go away and I won’t have to endure shame. I was also afraid that if I forgive them it’s like admitting they did nothing wrong or I will have to be friends with them. Misconceptions kept me in bondage.
Therefore, I held onto secrets and didn’t tell anyone. In doing so it was comparable to allowing a blister to grow and fill with toxic poison. And the pressure became too much to bear.
When a friend simply asked, “When are you going to forgive them?” it felt like an electric shock went through me. I sought counseling to assist me in pinpointing why. I had remained a victim because I rehashed the offense over and over in my mind instead of confessing. In sharing from the recesses of my heart, the damage I had endured came flowing out. I went straight home and shared it with my husband.
In releasing the pressure, my blister popped and the toxins poured out. I felt free and like a weight I had been carrying had been lifted. It was wonderful, yet short lived because I got hooked again:
· I saw the same pain being projected on another.
· I wanted to rescue them. I wanted to be their savior.
· I wanted to stop the offender from offending again.
· I wanted to tell my story.
Nevertheless, that is not my job. Yes, care about people. Yes, help others. But I was not called to be God. (Thank goodness!) I am not the Savior. Jesus is. I am called to work on my own personal relationship with Him, not do it for others.
· A process.
· Letting God take care of the offender.
· A choice.
· Releases pain.
· Keeps us from focusing on the offender.
· Letting go of resentment.
Once again I have sinned by taking things into my own hands. I thought I could handle it better than God. I marched proudly into a battle I had no business fighting.
Regardless, he lavishes his grace upon me by once again taking my hand and walking me through the process of practicing forgiveness again. Then whispers to me, “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15