Nothing says I’m sorry like a bouquet of flowers, right?
At my church we have been studying the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes come from the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus gave, which includes his moral teachings. One of the Beatitudes struck a particular chord with me, and it centers on something I have struggled with for several years. I’ve even written about it before, and not just on this blog website.
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
The ones who show mercy to others, will receive mercy themselves!
Forgiveness is a hard thing when the one you need an apology from will never give it to you. When I was a slave to bitterness and resentment, I wrote a poem during my senior year to try and find a solution to the problem:
In order to start a new chapter
We must swallow the heartache with laughter
An apology may never be presented
But to live, we need to let go of resentment
People change for better or for worse
Old companions may leave your course
It is the hardest thing to do: forgive
Yet I choose to so I can live
It was a simple little poem, but I try to recall it in times where I am wallowing in self-pity and hurt. When the sermon of Matthew 5:7 came up in church, it stepped on my toes because I still allow myself to get caught up from time to time. My feelings get hurt and I hold grudges when I shouldn’t.
It’s natural to be hurt when someone betrays us, lies to us, speaks ill of us, or commits a senseless act of crime against us. I’m not saying we should suppress the feelings because they are real and God doesn’t want us to brush off hurts like robots. The issue is when we allow it to stay in our systems longer than it should.
When I was young and learning to play sports, I had to learn quickly to get up and brush the dirt off and move onto the next play. It taught me that I had to do it in life sometimes too. Turning the cheek can be so hard, but so freeing. I’ve done plenty of wrong to many people, and others have hurt me just as bad, such as ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, family members, church family, etc. The list goes on and it will continue all throughout my life. I could add names but no one likes petty people, so if you still have a list of people you’re still mad at, you might want to consider burning it and moving on.
I can never get back the nights I stayed home crying and upset over something trivial. You won’t either. Forgiveness and showing mercy is difficult, but not doing it makes you even more miserable. The person who wronged you most likely isn’t thinking about it and they are going on with their lives.
As my preacher pointed out, God showed us all mercy even though we didn’t deserve it. We turn our backs against Him all the time and do ugly things that should make us feel stupid when we play victim in situations with other people. Walking around with grudges can weigh you down and hold you back from opportunities.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -Mark Twain
Mark Twain had a way with words that packed a punch and a joke all in one. We think others owe us something. We think they owe us kindness, or that they should do unto us as we do unto them. Wrong. They owe us nothing. We make up those expectations in our mind, and when they don’t reciprocate we are constantly let down. We keep all those transgressions and disappointments in a book (or a journal like I did in my younger years) to sit there permanently, like a symbolic permanent tattoo on our hearts.
God doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs. He wipes our slates clean when we enter into his family. He adopts us as His children and doesn’t hold grudges against us. He can do the same for you.
Psalm 130: 1-8 says:
“LORD, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.”
No one would survive if God kept a record of all the times we let him down and wronged other people.
Luke 23: 33-34 reads, And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
If anyone deserved to hold a grudge against someone, it was Jesus. But he did what we all should do and forgave the ones who did him wrong. In order to be like God’s son, I have to continuously ask Him to give me strength for a forgiving heart. It’s something I struggle with, but I admit it and try my hardest to overcome it. I will never be able to forgive on my own. God alone gives me the power to forgive others, so are you hurting and need to forgive someone? He’s the one that can help set you free.