Are adults allowed to have temper tantrums? Are they ever warranted…complete, reckless abandon; psychotic meltdowns? Surely, there has to be something in the fine print of #adulting that would permit such behavior. I don’t know anyone over the age of 25, currently in a pandemic, that could not relate. If so, kindly discontinue reading. Clearly you have reached and maintained a level of maturity that the rest of us never wanted in the first place. Yet, I digress. Any self-respecting and well-adjusted adult wouldn’t want to be seen as anything less. So, why is this inner 5 year old ever present and taunting? What could trigger such an unbecoming lack of contentment and self-discipline? Perhaps, trying to forgive someone who is determined to live and die in their continual wrong against you.
Trying to forgive someone who seemingly doesn’t deserve it can be one of the most painful processes. It’s like ripping your flesh from your spirit and your heart feels every violently regressive tear. Before we continue here, I want to encourage the saints to relax. We know the churchy banter, quick clichés that remind us that forgiveness is not for the other person but for us. Let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt that they are human and that forgiveness is not a serum with dosage directives. Forgiveness is a process that is measured and balanced on the scales of faith, wisdom, maturity and perspective within one’s self, daily. To clarify, I do believe everyone is deserving of forgiveness. Truth is some refuse to accept forgiveness for the second (or fiftieth) chance that it is. They repeat the pattern of hurt like it’s their favorite outfit to wear to the party and you…the big hearted (God loving) one, are always the guest of honor.
So let’s compartmentalize the facts here. We who struggle with this vicious cycle are not passive weaklings who choose to be victims. We do not enjoy the bruises of others' selfishness. Self-sabotage is never the goal. We are not naïve to the evil in the world or the manipulative motives of others. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. We are strong and courageous. We don’t throw people away for being human. We have chosen humility over ego and trifling confrontations. We have tasted the fruit of long-suffering and accepted it’s rewarding, better taste. Forgiveness is a characteristic and not an itemized option for us. We are the hope in God's eye for mankind; never judging or condemning; simply loving unconditionally.
"For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)
Perspective is everything. There are a ton of scriptures that aid and encourage us into becoming more like Jesus. If we are to become like Him, aren’t we to suffer like Him also? Who ever said forgiveness was sweet as cotton candy? No one… absolutely no one on earth has ever said it. Yet, God graciously forgives us in all of our wrong every day (Jesus with the three pointer!) Yes, forgiving can be painful. Calvary has proven that (Ephesians 1:7). Yet, forgiveness is also an offering and sacrifice for all He has loved us through, covered us from and delivered us out of. It is our gratitude that leads us to forgiving our debtors and that is no cowardly defeat. Forgiving is an honorable victory.
Doesn’t that sound like a hot apple pie after Sunday service? Mmm...mmm good, right? Not! Unfortunately, not everyone sees it my way(enter... temper tantrum.) No wonder why some of us want to throw ourselves on the floor and scream, “God, didn’t you see what they did? They started it! They’re hurting me! They don’t deserve forgiveness?” Well, neither did you. You’d much rather see God trip them down the stairs, right(you were thinking it.) Fortunately, we are called to a higher standard. Don’t worry, there is Grace. We’re not judged for being angry or disappointed. We are judged for not extending the same mercy that we have received.
My advice; find a really cool person who will let you release your inner 5 year old. My fiancee is all too familiar with my cries for help. Those really difficult first steps toward forgiveness are bound to happen. There is no shame in admitting that those steps hurt. There is no judgement in allowing yourself to actually "feel" each one. Go ahead and cry. Let it all out. You are merely flesh and bones. Then, accept how you were fearfully and wonderfully made and forgive…again.Your heart was made to endure the process. Rest assured, before every “I forgive you” was an “I-forgive-you-not.