There was a time that I thought some things were absolutely unforgivable. There was an imaginary scale in my head that weighed the offense and eked out the level of forgiveness that it was worthy of. I justified my right to own the hatred that I felt for my abusive ex-boyfriend. He had taken enough so I was not willing to give him any more of me, including my forgiveness. My angry mind rationalized that forgiveness would send a message that his actions were OK, even when my reality mind knows that notion isn’t true.
What I have come to grips with is that forgiveness is not an endorsement nor is it a hug wrapped in rainbows, fluffy clouds and harp music. Forgiveness is not a warm fuzzy feeling that puts you in the mindset of running through a field of flowers, smiling with the sun beaming as if you were singing about the hills being alive in the Sound of Music. In spite of how it feels, forgiveness is a choice.
I have heard it said that forgiveness is setting someone free and freedom is not what I wanted for this person. The truth of the matter is that the real prisoner was me. I was holding myself captive. I stayed bound in my anger where I was insulated from being in any situation where I could be hurt in anyway. I’ve become hypersensitive, acutely aware and ready to protect my children and me from the slightest external infraction. When looking at life through the lens of this seething anger, you see threats everywhere. A person in a store line accidentally stepping on my daughters foot required quick action to protect her when it was just an accident.
For years I was full of hatred and rage for not only my abuser but also memories of my mothers. I vowed to break the cycle and never have my children, sisters or brothers, nieces or nephews be victims of abuse. Un-forgiveness held me prisoner. The person that I have wished a house to fall on kept on living his life, unaware and probably apathetic to the depth of my hurt, anger and bitterness. To truly be an example, I’ve learned that I need to follow the ultimate example. God himself asks us to forgive those who have wronged us. (Colossians 3:13) Nowhere did I read it was an easy thing to do. As I’ve committed to the hard work of forgiveness, releasing my abuser and the dark, ugly pit of anger has made room for the beautiful things like joy, peace, love and gratitude. While forgiveness isn’t always easy it is worth the effort as I reclaim my freedom Under my Tattered Brim.