SHE too, needs forgiveness
For a long time, I struggled with forgiveness. the crazy thing is I didn't even know I was struggling with it. I just knew that I was slowly killing myself with anger. I completely believe in the ideology that the people you love the most, hurt you most. I think it's because you actually have these deep, seeded expectations of them that you wouldn't typically give to a stranger, or even in some cases an ordinary friend. So when that person falls dramatically or even slightly below that threshold of expectation, our world gets rocked.
I had a best friend growing up. We were really close and she was AMAZING and she still is. She was the type of person that just did things the way I wish I could do them, the first time around. I elevated her to pedestals that she didn't even know she was on, until one day she fell off. Not sure what specific event made her fall, but I definitely realized she was no longer the person I had imagined her as.
In all honesty, she hadn't changed. I had. I didn't realize that at the time, but I had matured into a different person, and neither of us were ready for it. Unaware of this inner metamorphosis, it seemed every indirect test I gave her, she failed with flying colors which became the Exhibit A-Z of the case I had mounting against her in my mind. Except I was the judge, jury, and executioner.
Our relationship eventually dwindled down to almost nothing. About that time I was starting a new relationship with Christ and He was revealing all these aspects of my life that He wanted to make new.
Forgiving my friend was super high up on that list. So I did all the things on the checklist that looked good to any outsider. I enrolled in a forgiveness support group at church, I read the assigned book, participated in the discussions, and completed all the weekly homework assignments. But the real work was not in the structured tasks of the class, but in progressively infrequent conversations with her. It seemed like all my attempts to forgive her went right through the window at "Hello." I started feeling like true forgiveness was impossible for a pain this deep.
What I had to learn was that forgiveness is supernatural, especially the type of forgiveness I had to extend. The forgiveness I needed, was too great for me to do myself because it required me to act against my flesh, which is impossible outside of Christ.
"So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want."
So when I first understood God's unconditional love for me, I could better understand how he was calling me to not only love her back but without pre-set conditions. So in one of the most emotionally freeing things I've every done, I wrote her am email asking her to forgive me for the laundry list of things I had done wrong. I also outlined things that she did that hurt me, but without accusation. When I pressed send with keyboards stained with tears, I literally felt free. Like true freedom.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
I didn't care what her reply was, because I already gave her to God. Her reaction was no longer mine to sort through. I was just being called to love her. Period.
Who have you had a hard time forgiving?
Are you willing to engage in something supernatural in order to experience true freedom?