Forgiveness Redefined

5 10 2015

I recently learned a new definition for forgiveness. It is this:

“Letting go of the hope of ever having a better past.”*

That may sound like a ‘no-brainer’, and it is…if you aren’t the one who must let go!

As I considered this point of view, it became increasingly apparent that this is the main hitch to forgiving. What happened was wrong. It should never have played out that way.

I want a different story!

For a one-time event, like being cussed out, this isn’t a very difficult task. On the other hand, if you’re talking years of mistreatment, that’s a different matter entirely.

How does one go back and rewrite their history?

Short answer:

It’s not possible.

What can we do with the lost years, or even decades? How on earth do we let go of the hope of having a magic wand waved over time and see the past changed in an instant?

This definition took forgiveness to a whole new level for me…and at the same time, showed me why I struggled with giving up the accompanying bitterness and resentment.

I wanted my life back, written as a fairy tale instead of the ugly reality I lived.

Which is not possible.

It was necessary to let go of the dream of ‘what might have been’.

Until I could do so, I was stuck in pain and despair.

If you’ve read many of my posts, you know that life has showered me with abandonment, rejection, and abuse of every sort. I don’t understand why my story is thus, but am grateful for the lessons learned along the way. Thankfully, God is using my history to develop my character, and to draw me close to Him.

The depth of relationship I enjoy with my Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit would not exist apart from my history.

While I’ve walked through the ‘steps’ of forgiveness, there were parts from which I could not shake free. This definition shed light on the problem.

Maybe it will help you, too.

 The struggle to accept this truth was tough. It’s too bad that mental gyrations don’t count as trips to the gym. I’d be buff!

At the end of each session, though, the conclusion was the same…the past could not be changed one iota.

When I finally came to grips with this, freedom happened.

The final moments between seeing that a different past was a hopeless cause – and accepting reality – was mind-bending in the extreme. I could almost hear the synapses in my brain stretch and, one by one, snap.

Talk about a renewed mind!

Lightness followed, as did clarity. At last I understand:

If we don’t like our history, then we must make better choices today,

which will give us a better ‘past’ tomorrow!

If I hit on a trigger: You don’t understand! I didn’t ask for this; I was a kid, let me clarify. Some of our history was beyond our control, for sure. No two-year-old has a say about much that happens to them.

However, we are no longer two years old. We’re grown-ups with a voice. As adults we have a great deal of say in what we will and will not allow.

Choose wisely!

*****

*This definition comes from Affair Recovery. If you, or someone you know, has either been unfaithful – or been betrayed – this is a fantastic resource. Their video blogs are insightful and informative, too.





How Can You Say You Understand??

15 08 2013

I drove down the freeway, the intense anger a cover-up for deep pain. I began to talk to the Lord about the situation.

Well, actually, I yelled, and pounded on my steering wheel.

“HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU KNOW WHAT I’M FEELING? HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO HAVE AN UNFAITHFUL SPOUSE? YOU NEVER EVEN DATED ANYONE???”

I felt sort of “ripped off”. It didn’t seem fair that Jesus didn’t have to go through he headaches and heartaches of marriage. How could He possibly understand what it’s like to be married?

In the midst of my angry outburst, He spoke, His voice soft and gentle:

Tami, who is my bride?”

Stunned, I thought for a moment, then said, “The church.”

Yes. Where is she, and what is she doing?”

Oh!

I began to consider His point.

Jesus claimed the church – us believers – for His bride, His own. That makes us His fiance; and what a fiance we are…hateful, deceitful, quarrelsome – more interested in His rival and his trinkets than in our Beloved – all the while claiming to dearly love Jesus.

Looked at from this perspective, I realize that Jesus understands far more than I ever imagined:

He knows the silence of neglect.

He “gets” being misunderstood.

He’s been on the receiving end of harsh words and accusations.

He knows the heartache of being involved with someone who wants the title, “Married,” but doesn’t want to quit “playing the field.”

He’s felt the pain of an unfaithful lover. He knows what it’s like to lose her to an unworthy rival.

He’s dealt with the addictions of His bride – and all the pain that accompanies these problems.

He understands “date night.” That’s about all He gets from her…an hour and a half on Sunday; a watched clock to ensure that He doesn’t take up too much time.

If He’s lucky, she might show up again for an hour or so on Wednesday. The rest of the week, she often lives as if He didn’t exist. “My life is none of Your business,” He’s frequently told.

He’s felt the searing pain of abandonment. The grief of having His lover walk away and lay in the arms of another.

Listen to this:

“But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob;

And you have been weary of Me, O Israel.

You have not brought Me the sheep for your burnt offerings,

Nor have you honored Me with your sacrifices.

I have not caused you to serve with grain offerings,

Nor wearied you with incense.

You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,

Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;

But you have burdened Me with your sins,

You have wearied Me with your iniquities. 

Isaiah 43:22

Oh yeah, He certainly can empathize with all facets of a lousy marriage.

And yet…

He loves us and is eagerly awaiting our union.

That floors me.

He is encouraging us even now, during the final days of our courtship to commit ourselves completely to Him. His desire is that we wean ourselves away from catering to, flirting with, and serving His enemy – Satan.

Praise His name that He has not simply commanded us to do this, but is willing to walk through the process step by step. Through the power of His Presence, we are able to become victors.

As we experience His patience and forgiveness, we come to love Him at a greater depth. When we begin to sense His deep, abiding love for us, His faithfulness to us no matter what, our eyes are opened a bit more to the wonders of being cherished.

Oh, Lord, open our eyes that we may see and comprehend what is the width and length and depth and height – to know  the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19 NKJV)

Jesus owns a “Been There, Done That Still Doing That” T-shirt.

He “gets” it.

Let Him comfort you as you work through the issues of this holy and sacred covenant relationship.