“Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.” ~ Harriet Nelson
“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head.”~ Ann Landers
When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future. ~ Bernard Meltzer
I serve as a lector in my church and the reading I proclaimed last night (COL 3:12-21) started some ideas moving around in my little brain. The segment of this reading that resonated with me is the following:
“..Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. “
I think that as I have gotten older, my ability to forgive has increased. Possibly this is because I have made many more mistakes of my own and done more things for which I myself need to be forgiven. I’m sure I don’t even want to know how many times something I’ve said has unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings or something I have done has caused someone to feel badly. I try to make the days of those I come in contact with a little better than they were, but I know I am not always successful. For those times that I have done or said something hurtful to someone else, I hope that those people can find it in their hearts to forgive me.
In return, I try my best to let go of resentments or hard feelings I have about things others have said or done to me. It is not always easy because I am only human, but letting go of the resentment and forgiving those people truly does help me to walk with a lighter step and to sleep better at night. Today’s reading immediately brought one individual to mind with whom I have made many attempts towards building a better relationship only to have the door shut in my face. Upon reflecting on this situation tonight, I think that the words of Saint Paul encourage me to keep on reaching out with kindness and understanding and patience. I think there is truth to the following quote.
How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it at all. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I am getting closer to the point where I don’t get as upset with this individual’s behavior. I have more of a feeling of pity rather than anger. I tell myself that living inside this person’s head would be much worse than just dealing with (or not dealing with as the case might be) this person occasionally. It is not the first time I have had to let go of a person or a situation. Sometimes despite our best efforts, situations and relationships are not resolved in the way we would like. Letting go doesn’t mean that I will cut all ties to this person, it simply means that I will let go of my expectation of getting the response I would like.
The new year will be here in less than a week! (Crazy, isn’t it!?) My resolution is to let go of expectations and to forgive those who have made me feel badly this last year. I also intend to work on practicing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience as the reading asked. Hopefully by doing this, I can start the year with a positive attitude and a renewed spirit, ready for all the new year has to bring!
Happy New Year to All! Thank you for reading! May 2014 bring many memorable moments your way!