“What if we stood with hearts wide open, ready to start again? What if we let God’s grace take over, learn to forgive and forget? What if we choose to love?” ~ NewSong ‘Choose to love’
I know I’m not the only one who knows what its like to be hurt by the ones we love the most. I’m sure it’s safe to say that everyone has been deeply hurt by someone, who at one point in their life, was very close to them. Sometimes there are no answers to why people turn their backs on us. But unfortunately, the truth is that sometimes friendships end with no explanation.
I’ve experienced this betrayal of friends a couple times over the past couple years of my life. Through it, I have been able to learn some life changing lessons about true forgiveness. I’ve learned to forgive those who never sought forgiveness, people who just decided to walk out on the friendship. Because of these experiences, I see the necessity of forgiveness as it relates to my own well-being. I understand that if I choose not to forgive it effects my heart, and my relationship with God. God has taught me that if I choose not to forgive, I choose to let bitterness take root in my heart. Forgiveness, real forgiveness, is hard, but now, by God’s grace, I know it to be possible.
But what about once the relationship is already dissolved. I can understand forgiveness being vital to keep friendships alive, but what about once the friendship has already died away, and forgiveness is being sought afterwards? What happens when you’ve done all you can to keep a friendship alive only to fail in your attempt, then after time has built walls between you, they seek to make amends. How do you break down these walls? I’m really not sure. And if I’m to be honest, I don’t know that I want to. These walls protect me from getting hurt again.
Maybe what I have to realize, is that just because I choose to forgive, does not mean things go back to the way they once were. When trust is tore down, it has to be rebuilt. But this doesn’t mean we withhold forgiveness until the trust is back. Sometimes the trust may never even return, and that’s ok. Forgiveness has to learn to love people where there are and for who they are right now. Maybe this is what God is wanting to teach me right now, forgiveness that does nothing for me. In the past, forgiving kept my heart from bitterness. This time, however, the bitterness is already gone. Now, by forgiving, I’m learning to welcome someone back into my life with a new role. I’m learning to welcome them back strictly to show love to them, expecting nothing in return.
This is a new realm of forgiveness that I’m not quite comfortable with. It involves letting go of what was and what I wanted things to be. It means simply taking what is, for what it is now, requiring nothing more. Afterall, that is what God did for me and you.