Last week I asked you all on my blog & Instagram if we could go deeper. Talk openly about stuff on our hearts, more than the surface level topics. I do this now and again on my blog, but my goal this year was to be more vulnerable and open with you all. It’s scary to put your heart, opinions or thoughts out there on the internet, it’s easy to post an outfit. My identity is in Christ and not in the approval of others, and becoming more comfortable in that, I feel ready to share more of this if it means it can help someone else. I’ve learned so much from others simply sharing — authors, speakers, pastors, video creators, podcasters etc. Those pieces of someone else being vulnerable helped me. I was so happy to see a lot of you craved that same desire to go deeper. I am going to pull ideas and inspiration from your comments and emails (so keep them coming and I always check and reply to those by the way! DMs are a little insane and hard to get to all of them). This one stood out to me below…
“I would say the topic of forgiveness, getting over resentment and disappointment. I think that in today’s fast paced life we are so busy, stressed and in a rush that we don’t get enough time to properly process the things happening on a daily basis – both positive and not so positive. Sometimes disappointments from the past hit you all of a sudden as you didn’t take the time to cope with everything in a healthy way.” – @pollynovakova
First up, I have to totally agree — we are all moving way too fast and we don’t always think to process or deal with unforgiveness in our hearts. I have so many thoughts on this, and I will try to keep this post as concise as possible. My faith is built on forgiveness. I’ve been forgiven for my sins and they’ve been lifted off of my soul forever because Jesus went in my place. Knowing that my faith calls me to do this, has conflicted me in the past. You see, it is not easy to forgive people who are not apologetic, who have wronged/hurt you and those who do evil. Yet, I am called to do this. I always thought if I forgave this person, it’s as if I was absolving them of any guilt and being okay with what they did. Wrong. I just didn’t understand the full meaning of the concept. Forgiveness is about you, not the other person. You’ll do a huge service to yourself if you learn to forgive others and do it quickly. Admittedly, I still struggle with this because I’m a person that fights for the principle. That’s fighting the wrong fight though. The more I mature in my faith and in life I’ve realized that hanging on to the resentment or disappointment only makes me suffer. It doesn’t add anything to my life except more stress, pain and heaviness to carry. You don’t have to reconcile with everyone, give them a big hug and invite them into your lives after they’ve treated you extremely poorly (or worse). You do however, have to lift it off your heart so you can feel lighter. I don’t know about you but carrying all of that is a huge burden and while the other person is going about their lives, you’re hanging on to it all. I think we should go through the motions, acknowledge the hurt, feel what we need to feel. You’re absolutely allowed to be angry. I tell God I’m angry and I’m not afraid to because He already knows what’s stirring in my heart before it even leaves my lips. We’re supposed to do that — just be honest. I can be honest and raw, asking Him to take my burdens and lift them up to Him. I don’t want to live a life resenting individuals and being a victim to their treatment. I want to be a victor in Christ who can see that others have hurt in their hearts, and carry their own physical and emotional traumas around with them and that is why these things happen. People will always disappoint you — your spouse, parent, child, friend, mentor, teacher etc. We are imperfect people. I can see through a lot of how people act, say things, treat others etc. and understand that they’re carrying something around with them and therefore hurt others. I’m not making excuses for them (people can really suck sometimes) and trust me, I still have issues that are unresolved in my heart that I have to work on everyday but I have to remember who is in control.
The second part to this is grace. Having forgiveness for others is beneficial to you, but it is also beneficial to the person you feel hurt by. People who hurt others on purpose, or just have vampire energy (the kind that suck the life out of others in the room with their bad attitude) are just really crying for help. There’s something going on inside them that’s causing them to act this way. I’m not saying we have to understand, I am not saying they deserve it – I’m just saying they need grace.
I have lived with resentment and immense disappointment and I am cautious of those individuals and either have had to walk away from them or keep them at a distance in my life. It is totally okay to have boundaries with people in your life to protect yourself. Knowing we will also disappoint and hurt others (intentionally or not) and remembering that the very definition of grace is that it is undeserving. We didn’t deserve God’s grace when He went to the cross (He forgave the very people who nailed Him to it), but He freely gave it to us as a gift. How can I not be responsible to pass that on? How can I have the knowledge of His pain and suffering, every lash to His back and nail driven through his flesh. How can I think about Him hanging off that cross and having to lift through His nailed down feet just to take in a breath. Let that soak in long enough and you’ll feel convicted you can’t live with resentment in your soul. When you receive this kind of forgiveness and grace so preciously bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, you can’t help but want to push yourself to pass that on to others even when you don’t feel like it.That’s how Jesus made me new inside. He made me to die to my fleshly desires of anger and resentment and showed me how to live in His love, grace and forgiveness. I don’t do it perfectly, and not in my own strength, I do it with Him next to me. Preserving your faith will cause you to triumph and God is able to restore far more than you have lost or suffered at the hands of others.
In no way do we agree, justify or belittle the hurt someone else caused us by forgiving them. Instead, we do ourselves a favour to not have to carry that burden with us everyday. You can’t live in gratitude and joy when unforgiveness is living inside you. It is life sucking, and the enemy wants you to hold on to that hurt, resentment and disappoint. The enemy thrives when we are in turmoil, distress, anxiety, anger and unforgiveness. He will tell you every lie to keep you there. Let me just speak this truth to you: none of those feelings will serve you. Venting, screaming, shouting, cursing etc. might feel good in that moment as a release to how you feel because you’re living out of the flesh, but it actually holds you more captive. The only way to release yourself is to ask for help within your spirit toward forgiving others. My pastor once had a physical example of this, he loves to bring props on stage for sermons (I love it, lol) because I am visual. He poured some water in a vase that had some dirt in it from a plant. He dumped out the water but he asked us to notice that there was still a little dirt left. Then he poured some more in and slowly all of the dirt came out of the vase. We need the water for our souls (John 7:37-39), the one it thirsts for in the midst of all of the spiritual, emotional and physical baggage we carry on a daily basis. The people we come in contact with are also carrying that with them, and sometimes they unload it on you or me without us even recognizing it (sometimes it’s not so obvious). I’m not a magician, I can’t make your hurt go away and even when I cry out to God for help with forgiving, it’s not easy. Slowly, He is removing the dirt from my heart so I can be made new, whole and lighter. You can’t avoid being hurt or disappointed and we can push down things but they’ll always come back up. Let yourself feel what you feel but don’t live there forever. Don’t let resentment chew up your soul and spit you out. There is more for you. We need time to heal and process, especially in a world of instant gratification, insta-gram etc., we want it to go away quickly. I know I couldn’t understand or want to forgive people until I got saved. I’m not perfect at it, some wounds take longer to heal and some people you can’t run away from. For some people it’s their closest family or relationships and that can re-open wounds. I want to encourage you today to do yourself a favour and just try. You don’t have to be inauthentic about forgiveness, if you’re working through it, that’s okay. Trying and having the willingness to start the process, just like the dirt in the vase, it won’t all come out the first time, but eventually you won’t have as much sitting there. Go be light and be light! xoxo