For many people who know me well, which these days it's not many, they know that I hold grudges.  Once I'm mad, really mad at someone, I find it hard to forgive them, and sometimes never can.  I don't like being this way.  I know what everyone says - I'm giving people real estate in my head by holding on to anger, blah blah, all the Christian speak about forgiving people, God giving us grace, and yes, it's all well and good, and I want that, but I never really knew why it was so hard for me to forgive. 

So today I'm in my car on the way to school, and a song I've heard many times but never paid attention to came on the Message (Sirius Christian station), and the group was playing it live in the studio and explained what it meant.  The most important part of the song I was totally missing, and it puts into perspective why it's so hard for me to forgive!

When I'm angry at someone, to forgive someone feels like I'm the one who's losing.  I know it's not always a win or lose type thing, and you have to give in every kind of relationship, but why doesn't anyone ever talk about how hard it is to forgive someone and how defeated it can make you feel?  People say they feel so great after forgiving someone, I don't necessarily feel that way.  Maybe that means I haven't truly forgiven, I have no idea. 

But when my Dad died and we hadn't been speaking over politics, it put a lot of things in perspective for me.  First of all, that getting all worked up and passionate over politics just isn't worth it.  Yes, I totally believe that people should be involved and up to date in what's going on in the world around them - politics affects our every day life.  But not to the point where it causes difficulty in relationships around you.  I wish I could go back and change that.  Mark would say my Dad is to blame for that, but it took two stubborn people to create that atmosphere.  I could have let it go and say it didn't matter or let him speak his mind and go on, but I didn't.  Mark was all worked up over politics tonight, I just didn't want to get drawn in to his debate.  It's not worth it, and in the end, you don't change people's minds if they're not open.

So forgiveness.  Yeah, I should forgive my mother, but it's so freaking difficult.  And if I forgave her, what would that mean, that I would seek her out and try to start a relationship with her?  And my brother?  And, and, and?  I don't want to be the bigger person.  But when she dies, will my perspective eventually change like it has with my Dad and I will no longer have a chance to go back and forgive her and reach out to her like I can't with my Dad? 

And it would feel like I'm the one losing, after all this time.  Like I was the one in the wrong, when I'm not.  Doesn't that matter?  So how do you forgive someone when they don't think there's anything for you to forgive them for?  It's so complicated.  People make it sound so easy - "Just forgive" - sure, I think I have, then I get mad again. 

Anyways, it was nice to hear someone admit that yes, it's hard, because no one ever addresses that.  They just say to do it .

So...I'm working on it.  I'm always working on it, pondering it, wondering if I've already done it and what it means, what I should do about it, should I tell the person I forgave them and if I did, would it even change anything or perhaps make things worse?

The group is pretty great, I didn't even know their name until today although I knew some of the songs they were playing from listening to the station.  Here's the song I heard today:

Losing - Tenth North Avenue

I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they know it's wrong
Don't they know it's wrong

Well maybe there's something I missed
But how could they treat me like this
It's wearing out my heart
The way they disregard

This is love or this is hate...
We all have a choice to make
Oh, Father wont You forgive them
They don't know what they've doin' 
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
Seventy times seven times

Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've done.

This is love or this is hate...
We gotta a choice to make
Oh Father won't You forgive them
They don't know what they've been doin'
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'

Why do we think that our hate's gonna break a hard heart
We're rippin arms over wars that don't need to be fought
Cause pride wont let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but it's just to burn them down

We think our pain is own apologies and get them to stop
Well truth be told it doesn't matter if their sorry or not
Cause freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of Your mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

Oh Father wont you forgive them
They don't know what they've been doin'
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losin'I feel like I've been losing


Flabbergasted Mom said...

i think the biggest problem is not so much the forgiveness per se but the fact that the other party (parties) just tend to refuse to "agree to disagree" and want to keep bringing up the topic of disagreement up to rehash over and over again until you say to yourself, is it really worth the effort.

Or maybe that's just how I see it.

KansasSunflower said...

Good point, FM. Maybe that's why I'm so hesitant to try to restart relationships with family members if I "forgive" them - just like you said, they will want to rehash! And just to forgive is hard enough, who wants to relive???

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