Much of my year has been focused on forgiveness, grace, and mercy. I have always had a cognitive knowledge that I am supposed to forgive as it releases me from anger and bitterness. I have always known cognitively that I forgive because I have been forgiven, but I haven’t always practiced that. And I haven’t really understood these concepts past my cognitive abilities and let them sink into my heart and soul. This year has been one big lesson on this.
When you have a cognitive knowledge about the reasons why we should forgive others, our forgiving others does not come from a pure place of the heart. It’s still about benefitting ourselves…..I’ll forgive so it doesn’t tear ME up inside. I’ll forgive so God will forgive ME. But I am in the midst of the realization that this is not a forgiveness of grace, love, and mercy. Real, pure forgiveness comes from a place that is not self-serving. We forgive not so that we will be forgiven; we forgive because we were forgiven. Our own forgiveness becomes a cause rather than an effect.
This year I shudder to think of the number of people I may have hurt. It’s true. Not always intentionally….but sometimes because I was hurt and reactive. I’m sure there were times I may have said something insulting or insensitive and not even realized it. I hope those people forgive me. This year there have been times I have been hurt by others. I brought anger and bitterness with me into 2014, but I’m trying to amputate it and leave it behind.
The reality is we are human. And many times as humans we don’t even see our own faults. When we lack this self-awareness, we are often setting the stage to repeat this behavior. But everyday I am learning to forgive myself, others, and life in general. Now….on to 2015 and to see the lesson of the year that it provides.