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?
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.
*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.