Last week I wrote about Unconditional Love and I touched on forgiving. Then I got to thinking about some things that I want to make sure that Jacob learns, and I decided that the next few weeks were going to each be devoted to concepts that I hope we can teach our son… This week I’m writing about Forgiveness.
It’s almost ironic that I’m writing about forgiveness. Almost. I say this only because I held a grudge and couldn’t forgive for such a long time. If you know me personally, then you know that there’s a story to my relationship (or lack thereof) with my biological father. I’m not going to get into the specifics, but suffice it to say that I hated him for so many years. I also missed him. I was angry, hurt, betrayed, played, deceived, and mentally and emotionally abused. Needless to say, I was angry. I couldn’t forgive him – how can you forgive someone whose actions are that heinous, and towards their own children, no less?
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the anger that I held was also poisoning me slowly. It wasn’t until I forgave him that I set myself free. I’ll say that again because it’s important.
It wasn’t until I forgave him that I set myself free.
And here’s what I want my son to learn:
Forgiveness is not about the other person.
When you forgive someone – and everything and everyone should be forgiven – you’re not saying that it’s ok for them to have taken whatever action they took to hurt/offend you; you’re saying that you are strong enough and you love yourself enough to not let that action continue to hurt/offend you. Ya dig?
It doesn’t mean that you are excusing them to repeat the offense – it means you’ve decided to no longer let that person and their infractions live rent-free in your head. It’s actually the only way to truly move on from any hurt and heartache – evict the tenant.
I know a lot of people who will say: “But there’s no justice in that! They deserve to be punished for what they did/said/etc..!”
And my answer to that is a bit cliché, but here it is anyway: Holding a grudge and holding anger against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Choose to love yourself enough to not drink the poison.
Simply put, it’s foolish. Don’t get me wrong, I know firsthand how easy it is to feel rage and anger and revenge thoughts against people – just ask anyone who used to drive in my car with me.
All kidding aside, I came to a point where I realized that these feelings were only hurting me. It was like I was carrying around a huge bag of bricks for absolutely no reason, and I was pissed off because it was hard to walk. All I had to do was put the bag down.
What I’m getting at here is simple. I haven’t seen or spoken to my biological father in almost 5 years. My choice. Am I angry? No. Do I hate him? No. Do I forgive him? Absolutely. Were his actions justified? Not even close, but I am free. I wish I could have set down my bag of bricks a long time before I actually did.
Hopefully, Jacob will learn to just leave the bricks wherever they are…
Thanks for reading!