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Jennifer E. Thomas
j3nny3lf
...... .:::.:.:


Waterfalls
It's almost like there are these periods where our relationship is smooth and steady, and then there are times when it's like standing on the edge of this gorgeous, wonderful waterfall and just letting yourself drop, knowing that there's a safe pool of water ready to catch you at bottom. You take the plunge and you're in wayyyy over your head, but oh man, it's exhilarating, it's breathtaking, it's just incredible and you feel better than you ever have before and the water is cool and refreshing and exactly what you needed.

Sam is my waterfall.

- LJ entry from 8/2005





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Jennifer E. Thomas [userpic]
Forgiveness - RELIGION HEREIN

The last few days I've been getting help from my new FB friend, Rose, as well as my old friends, Gerda and David, on learning to forgive.

I've always been one to hold a grudge. I remember things done to me by others and I hold on tight to those memories, and the anger, and yes, even the hatred. From my mother and ex-stepmother to my ex-husband and former friend, to my neighbors down the street, I have taken pride in my "strength of character" that never let me forget a wrong done to me.

And just who does that hurt, anyways? As Rose put it to me yesterday, does it bother THEM? Do they care? Do they even notice?

Which made me really think about this for the first time. And the answer is no, they don't care. No, it doesn't bother them. No, they don't notice. The only one losing sleep over this, the only one developing ulcers, the only one arguing with her husband because she's in such a foul mood over these slights and hurts is ME.

Me.

By holding on to the anger and hate, I'm only hurting me, and those who love me. Those who have hurt me? They don't care how I feel, they've made that infinitely clear over the years. They do what they do, and then they move on in their lives. I'm the one still dwelling on the hurt inflicted, weeks, years, DECADES after the fact.

I am not going to do it ANY MORE. If somebody hurts me, I can make the choice to forgive them for being a jerk, forget it, and move on. Does that mean I have to let the person who hurts me back into my life to hurt me more? No, I don't believe that it does. But I don't have to hate and hate and wish horrible fates on them and dwell on the pain they've caused me and make myself physically and mentally ill with it all.

Rose gave me this scripture:

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16!

So. Here's my gameplan.

When I'm feeling that old stubborn grudgeholding part of me rear its very ugly head, I will talk to one of my trusted brothers or sisters in faith, and ask them to pray with me. I'll pray for the ability to let it go and leave it all to God, I'll pray to be able to forgive and forget.. and I'll pray God forgives ME for holding that anger and hatred in my own heart.

Gerda gave me lots of good scriptures to study on the same topic, and David, well, he constantly reminds me that Jesus forgave ME of so much more, and I should strive to forgive others.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for giving me such strong Christian brothers and sisters to help me learn about You and Your plan for me.

Please give me the strength of will to learn to forgive those who have hurt me so deeply. Help me to see that they are no worse and no better than I am. Help me to recognize that whatever they may have done to me, I have done at least as badly to others and I am in no position to judge.

Help me, Lord, to forgive "seventy times seven", to turn the other cheek, and to be the kind of Christian woman that You and I want so badly for me to be.

In Jesus' name I pray,

Amen

Borderline symptom of the day: thoughtfulthoughtful
Earworm of the moment: Kevin Levar - A Heart That Forgives
Comments

Amen

A wise man once said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I'm glad you're not drinking the poison any more.

*hugs*

Something I learned long ago, if you hang on to hate, anger, and fear, no matter how many good things happen to you, the bad guys win. If you let it go, no matter how unmonied your life, you win.

Just goes to show that money really isn't everything.

I've found this very helpful to contemplate:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

-- Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC (Harper, 1993)

Wow.. that's seriously powerful. And true.

isn't it just? i must have read it when i was 16 or 17, and it made a huge impression on me. it's one of the guidelines i try to live by.

I'm sorry, Jenn, but I for one have been feeling pretty hurt and marginalized by you recently. This does not sound like a post of forgiveness. It sounds like a post of hate to me. Just for your information, those who 'hurt you', yes, care deeply. You refuse to see that. This is not a quality of forgiveness. I don't think I was one of those, but for whatever reason you have ceased to communicate with me. So be it. But realize that your lack of forgiveness hurts WAY more than yourself. In fact, seeing it that way is a very selfish way of seeing it. So I'm not Rose. Oh well. So I'm not Kris. Oh well. So I've never been acknowledged as helping you in any of your posts, even though you say I have. Oh well. What I see is you hurting a whole TON of people who have, over the last few years reached out to you and helped you beyond belief and who, believe it or not, are willing to STILL reach out to you. Except that you hate them and are holding this grudge. Forgiveness is NOT calling them jerks. Forgiveness is seeing them as people who have played special roles in your life and who are hurting too...maybe not as much as you, but so what? They are HURTING. I am hurting. But, I'm about ready to give up on that too.

So, do what you will to me. Because apparently, when people speak their mind you have taken to banning them and defriending them, even if you have history with them. Go ahead. I'm already hurting. But see, because I've said all of this to you, I become a jerk too and fall into the category of 'not caring'. OK. If that's what you think. OK.

I really think you need to study and learn forgiveness a little better. Forgiveness is a process, not an action. It's a process that allows you to become incredibly close with someone even if they tried to kill you at one point in your life. I know from personal experience. If you can do that with no lingering bad feelings....then you finally know how to forgive.

Cil,. I look for you on AIM every night, I never see you there.

I'm sorry if you feel like I'm hating you for some reason, I'm not. I'm sorry if I haven't been there for you, because that hasn't been my intention. I'm sorry if you think I've marginalized you and cast you aside because my posts don't include your name, but I tell my friends about you all the time, Cil, and I could swear I talked about you a fair bit back when I returned to faith, but if I didn't, I'm sorry, sorrier than I can say. I wish you would believe me.

And the only people I defriend are people who are being vindictive to me, and I don't see you doing that here. I see you asking me what's going on, and I see me trying to respond to that. You're one of my oldest friends, I've known you for what? Ten years? I've never known you to go out of your way to mess with me, I've only known you to speak what you feel honestly and openly.

I wish you wouldn't think that because I've cut people out of my life like a mother who abused me emotionally for 43 years that it means I will do it to you. I love you.

All I can do is hope that you believe that.