Last week, someone commited an act, not against me, but against two of my family members, which is probably worse in my books. I felt intense anger towards this person's actions, which led to my realization that my anger issues were no longer in check (see Anger Management from yesterday). After the incident, I overheard the person apologizing, "I'm sorry guys...I should have...my fault." I thought, "Wow! That was big of him." And, once I knew that one of my family members had calmed down and the other one would, I calmed down and I thought that this person would do better when he got the opportunity to do so. I was wrong.
After, my bold declaration of learning to deal with my anger, I think the devil took offense to me leaving the dark side that I had visited momentarily. The same person did the same thing again and with a much worse reaction this time from one of my family members. With clinched fists, ready to bark, I formulated just exactly which piece of my mind I was going to give this person. Then, I realized that it was a trap. I took a deep breath. I counted to ten. I walked away, called my mother and just snarled for a few minutes. I know that getting angry was not helping my family member and that, if I did say what was on my mind, it would make things even worse. So, I took another really deep breath because my heart seemed as if it would pound right out of my chest. I counted to ten again. Then, I went back to the rest of my family and resisted the temptation to blow up.
When I got home, I saw a teaser on the news for a story and it said, "Could you forgive someone who stole millions of dollars from you? Could you thank them for doing it?" It went on to say that there will be a feature story about a beloved local legend forgiving and thanking someone who violated him. Then, as I talked with my best friend, she advised, that to let out my beef with this person that I should write a letter that I never send, so I can get my thoughts out. I retorted that the letter might find its way to the person if I did that. And then, this morning, after having to walk behind and hear the voice of the person who had commited the offense (and, by the way, he did not apologize this time), another devotion in my inbox about anger.
So, in an effort to be obedient and move forward, here is what I have to say, "_____, I forgive you. I do not understand why you do things to hurt people, and seemingly do them on purpose. I do not know what joy you may get from breaking people's spirits or if you even realize what a terrible example you are being to young people who go out of their way to respect you and for whatever reason may even look up to you. What I do know is that I pray for my family, and we love God. I know that He is in total and complete control over our lives, not you. I am sorry that I have given you so much power and I pray that my family does not give you anymore power to make them upset or hurt their feelings. In fact, I want to thank you because I did not know that dangerously high levels of anger still existed within me. That is something that I need to keep in check and I thank God for showing me that through your ignorance. I will not harbor any ill will towards you. I will pray that God has mercy on you and your family, and that no one ever treats you the way that you treat other people. I do not expect you to apologize because I am not sure that you have a conscience, but that is between you and God. When it comes down to it, God has control over all things and whatever is best for my family is what God will see through to fruition. Everyone needs a "Pharaoh" to push them out of their comfort zone and help them to depend solely on the one true, God. So, thank you for helping me refocus on Someone who actually has an impact on my life and my family's life."
I'm not sure that "Sorry" is the hardest word. But, "I forgive you," that phrase is a doozy. Nevertheless, if Christ can forgive the very same people who crucified Him, we should all be able to forgive those who offend us and those whom we love. It's definitely not easy, but I am going to keep trying because forgiveness brings freedom and peace. And, couldn't we all use a little more peace in our lives? If you are feeling uptight or angry, try to identify who or what is upsetting you, and choose forgiveness, even if the person you have to forgive is you. Then, go weigh yourself because you are going to feel so much lighter with that burden lifted. Have a great weekend! Ms. EV