Forgiveness Is For You
And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32, KJV)
Forgiveness has not always been an easy road for me to travel down. When I would get hurt by someone close to me, I made excuses for their reasoning behind the hurt they caused me. I would always say, “It’s okay,” or “We’re cool.” I never held them accountable and yet I still allowed them to be in my life, all while holding a disdain for them.
Back then, my need to feel wanted and a part of something came at a cost. A piece of me would slip away every time I allowed the same cycle of hurt to come into my life without defending my peace and space. I knew I was being used and mistreated, but I didn’t want to lose people I felt that I needed at the time. I didn’t want to be alone.
When I decided to go to therapy, I knew I would be challenged with forgiving people who have hurt me. Confronting those issues within myself was very difficult. When I began to face the root of what was happening - the need for validation and acceptance - I was able to tackle a lot of my issues. Knowing that God had already established me and using the power that I already held in my hands, I began to build up my self-esteem and confidence. In doing so, the need for validation and worldly acceptance began to fade away.
Forgiving the people who hurt me from childhood to adulthood was the best thing I ever did for my growth as a woman. Setting people free from bondage they didn’t even know they were being held to allowed me to free my spirit and my mind. I was no longer a prisoner. I’m much more at peace with myself and confident when I am faced with confrontation. I will not cower, but stand tall and face the situation head on. I have learned how to set boundaries and clear expectations of what I want from those around me.
Recently I have been faced with another test, and if I’m being transparent, the person I’ve been tested to forgive is my mother. There were some things that she has said about me that could’ve possibly ruined my integrity and character as a person. They were hurtful and have damaged our mother/daughter relationship. I never could have fathomed that I would be at odds with her, however, I refuse to be manipulated and talked down to.
I believe wholeheartedly that generations past feel that we as the younger generation are to have some type of blind loyalty to those we call family - at the cost of our peace. You have to recognize when things, or people, no longer serve a purpose in the season you are in. We are human beings first before we are daughters, mothers, friends, wives, etc. With that being said, as a human being I have the right to choose who I allow in my space. I can only speak for myself in saying that if someone, no matter who they are, no longer brings genuine positivity into my life I will not allow them to be a part of it.
Forgiving my mother was one of the hardest things I had to do thus far. It has been a process I’ve had to work through since the birth of my son. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’ve made huge strides. I really had to pray for weeks just to even consider forgiving her. I had to dig deep into who I was and where I was at with her. I had to ask myself, “Was our relationship worth it?” At the moment, I’m still figuring out that question. What I do know is that this situation has challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before. I’m not perfect, but I’m progressing.
If my journey on this road of forgiveness has taught me anything it’s that:
- Forgiveness doesn’t require a relationship with the person or people that have hurt you. You can forgive someone and not have them in your space. It’s called protecting your peace and you have to do that by whatever measures are best for you.
- Forgiveness is not a gateway or ticket for the other person to stay a part of your life. If you allow it, not forgiving someone will keep you in chains and a prisoner of your own life. Letting them go is okay; it may even be necessary for you to get to the other side of your destiny.
My life journey thus far has brought me to a level of self awareness that I only want genuine people rooting for me and in my corner. It has taught me that there are consequences and repercussions to one's actions. I can no longer allow people to hurt and use me and then coddle them as if what they did to me was somehow my fault. I’m always intentional when I pursue things or help someone. My intentions are rooted in God and purpose, so when I do things it’s for Him and purpose. I look at forgiveness like an anchor. It keeps me stable in knowing that I can be around people who have hurt me and not be moved by their past transgressions. I also know that once the anchor has been lifted, I can continue to move on with my life and progress forward.
Forgiveness is never about those who have hurt you, but more about releasing them from the hurt that you continue holding on to because of them. Facing forgiveness is like looking in the mirror; you’re able to reflect and change. We all need forgiveness for something and we all need to forgive someone for some things as well. When you do, be kind and of tender heart. Hurt people, well, hurt people, and when you are forgiving someone give them the grace to change - if your relationship is worth it to you. I encourage you to do some mirror work today. Who haven’t you forgiven? Maybe forgiving them or even forgiving yourself can be the catalyst that moves the needle of your life closer to what you’ve been trying to attain.
Shebah Etosha Brown