October 13, 2010

Forgiveness Isn't About The Other Person

My journey during the past 20 months or so, as you may recall, has been a rather stressful one, leading to my suffering ongoing depression and anxiety. While initially commencing from extreme pain and lack of sleep caused by an injury suffered at my workplace, my depression and anxiety was exaccerbated by ongoing nastiness and bullying from several of my fellow workers.

Recently I was fired from my workplace after being there for over fourteen years. While that in itself was unfair, in some ways it has been a good thing. In some ways it has been a relief to have that door closed and to know that I won't have to go back and face those nasty bullies or hear any more unwarranted comments and back-stabbing.  

Last night as I was talking to God, He told me that it was time to start forgiving them, especially those who were the nastiest, one of whom was supposed to be a friend of mine.

It was kind of a shock to feel that compulsion to forgive, because one part of me wanted to hold onto my hurt and to not let go of my grudge - after all those horrible people didn't deserve my compassion and forgiveness did they? But God opened my eyes enough for me to see that contrary to what I might think, forgiveness isn't so much about healing my relationships with those other people, but about healing my own broken heart.

Forgiving those people is not saying that they are any better a person or that I should renew my relationship with them, but about acknowledging that they are very flawed human beings that do not understand what it means to love others.

It won't make one iota of difference to them if I do or don't forgive them - they will remain broken and flawed. They will remain in the cage they have built for themselves.

God showed me that forgiveness is about being willing to let go of my desire for justice. Phew! That's a tough one, because a sense of fair play is so inherent in our human nature, and for me is probably the hardest thing to let go of.

I said, "Lord, while there's a part of me that would love it if the real truth about those bullies was  exposed, I need to get past that and to accept that the truth may never be known to anyone but to them and to you. Please open my eyes and my heart and my spirit to be willing to forgive and to let go of my need for justice."

I was surprised to see that my heart and my head were both in agreement about moving on and so today is the first step in my forgiveness process.

There are still some unanswered questions:
  • how should I act if I see those bullies out in public;
  • what should I do if an internal investigation at my previous workplace requires me to testify about the behaviour of the bullies; and
  • does forgiveness mean that I should stop talking about the experiences I suffered.
I'm sure that as I grow and heal through this experience that God's spirit will speak to me and give me insight, and enable me to let go of all traces of my unforgiveness and hurt.

I look forward to the time when my heart will be healed.

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