No, I am not pregnant. No, Tucker is not lying to me. No, we are not getting married just to have sex. No, we do not have to live together before we get married to have a great marriage. No, I am not a college dropout. No, I do not hate gay people because I am Christian. No, I am not just looking for attention. No, I am not judging you for living your life differently than I do.
I have heard a lot of rumors about myself in the past year. And it’s funny because a majority of them were from people I went to highschool with/people I never actually see anymore. I’m still learning how to love the people who start the gossip. I’m still learning how to love people who congratulate me on my engagement to my face and talk about me behind my back. I’m still learning how to love people who make fun of me for where I go to school, what life choices I make, what religion I am, how I dress, where I work, and so on. But even in the midst of this negativity, I am glad because it’s teaching me how to forgive.
Forgiveness is an extremely tricky thing. Why would I forgive someone who has done me wrong and doesn’t regret it one bit? The better question is; why shouldn’t I?
If I am a follower of Christ, who am I to not be forgiving? God sent His son down to die on a cross for a messed up person like me. And it was not just “Okay, I’ll forgive you for that sin! Better luck next time kiddo!” and everything was good. It was “Okay, I forgive you for that sin. And I also forgive you for continuing to commit the same sin over and over!” Jesus did not pay the price for that one time you slipped up. He paid for every time, past, present, future. Forgiveness here on Earth should work the same way.
Complete side note: I really hope Jesus refers to me as “Kiddo”
I feel myself too often “forgiving” someone the first time but continuing to hold a grudge. Or thinking poorly of someone because of something I know they’ve done in the past. Or “forgiving” someone and still showing hostility towards them for doing the same/similar thing again. God doesn’t do this so why should we? I am a sinner, I fail each and every day in one way or another. But God does not get tired of me, He wants the best for me. He does not “forgive” me the way I “forgive” people by just giving up on them. He loves me and continues pursuing a relationship with me.
That is what we are called to do with people. Forgiving someone who absolutely does not deserve it, is the perfect picture of the gospel. We don’t deserve this, any of it. I believe the reason forgiveness isn’t popular is because you do not get anything in return. Forgiveness is for other people, it is not about you. What do you mean it’s not about me? Won’t I feel 100% better once I forgive them? No, because true forgiveness takes time.
It takes effort to forget about wrongdoings and replacing that resentment with LOVE. I often “forgive” people and still feel some pain in my heart. Sometimes it seems like if I could just walk up to them and scream it out I would feel better. But when I do let my anger get the best of me and I react, I am only left feeling hurt. Usually more hurt than I initially felt from whatever that person did. I have learned that it is much better to go through life with love for others than hate in your heart. I am so much more content when I am caring towards someone than dismissive and rude. Ironically enough some of the friendships I have developed in the last year started with misunderstanding. I could have simply given up on them and didn’t even try to mend the relationship. But since I’ve started trying to forgive, forget, and see people the way God sees them, I have some great new friends.
Forgiveness is swallowing that prideful mindset and choosing to reflect love. When we choose to reflect that love, people notice. Because frankly people are tired of hearing about the love of Jesus when they do not often see it in His followers. So maybe next time when it seems like it would be easier to hate and act upon that hate, show some love. That is the complete opposite reaction from what Satan wants us to do. Satan loves that we are hurt by someone, he wants to continue that hurt by provoking us to hurt others. It’s kind of the idea that hurt people hurt people. Maybe you are holding a grudge, let go. Don’t hold on to hate, love on them instead. Because that is the kind of forgiveness Jesus was talking about.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I love you all. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to contact me if you need prayer/just want to talk/whatever. You guys are awesome.