I made a list:
I know, I have some ‘splaining to do.
The other day I was hurt by Trent again (actually a misunderstanding that my mentor cleared up today, but I didn’t know it at the time). If you’ve been following my story you know that Trent’s actions have hurt me quite a bit. It hasn’t been easy. He apologized for hurting me right after he dumped me, and it took a day or two, but I did tell him I forgave him. The pain hasn’t entirely gone away from his dumping me though. It’s getting easier to live with, but my mentor said today that this break up will always be a pivotal point in my life. Kind of like the time when I really committed my life to Christ. There was a before, and an after. No matter what happens in my life from this time onward, there is a before and an after this break up.
So the other day when I was hurt again, I cried out to God about it. I told Him that it hurt and asked how much more hurt could I endure? God said “well, I guess you’ll have to put this on your list of things to forgive Trent for.” I was like “I have one of those?” He said “you need to start one if you really want this man.” And then the image above popped into my head. An empty page (except for the title).
Now, a few things the list is NOT. I have a pretty good memory, I can remember everything I’ve put on the list. I’m still dealing with a lot of fallout from things on the list. So the list is not saying “it’s ok! Forget about it! No harm done!” There was harm done. No, I can’t forget about some of the things on the list.
The list is saying “You did this. But I’m not going to hold it against you. I’m not going to keep it on the list and use it to make you feel bad and guilty forever.” When an action or a word goes onto the list (i.e. he does something that wrongs or hurts me) it instantly vanishes. No, that’s not a cool trick I found out about Microsoft Word. I don’t really write anything down – I don’t actually have a document called “things I need to forgive Trent for.” I just mentally put it on the list and let it go.
This isn’t a free pass for Trent. He is still a flawed and scarred man who needs love and help just as much as I do. But holding on to things that have hurt me will only keep hurting me. I know I’m not perfect either, we are both humans who have been hurt, have hurt, and both need forgiveness. This isn’t a new message I’ve come up with. I mean, the Bible tells us:
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
I want and need God’s forgiveness. So I need to forgive those who have sinned against me.
I’ll admit: Trent was easier to forgive. God has prompted me to forgive some other people for things too and I’m struggling to do that. I don’t want to put their offenses towards me on a forgiveness list, because the offenses are ongoing. My therapist and I talked about it this morning, how we have to forgive, and how forgiveness is not holding an offense against the other person anymore, but it also means that you don’t let the offenses continue. Honestly, I’m not sure how to do that. But I’m going to keep trying and figuring it out. And I think that even before I have it figured out, I need to add those offenses to their lists.
I heard this song on the radio this morning:
The very first line challenged me: have I forgiven myself? Do I need to make a list for me? Yeah, I think I do.
Is there anyone you need to start a forgiveness list for?