Everything: On Forgiveness and Letting Go
I forgive the girl I was, not because I want to become a saint but because I do not want to endure this hatred. This tiresome hatred…
I forgive everything and everyone. I forgive you because I love you and you do not love me. I forgive you because you reject me and I am losing my power…
I am liberated from hatred by means of forgiveness and love. I understand that suffering, when it cannot be avoided, helps me to advance towards glory…
The tears I shed, I forgive.
The suffering and disappointments, I forgive.
The betrayals and lies, I forgive.
The slandering and scheming, I forgive.
The hatred and persecution, I forgive.
The punches that were given, I forgive.
The shattered dreams, I forgive.
The dead hopes, I forgive.
The disaffection and jealousy, I forgive.
The indifference and ill will, I forgive.
The injustice in the name of justice, I forgive.
The anger and mistreatment, I forgive.
The neglect and oblivion, I forgive.
The world with all its evil, I forgive…
Grief and resentment, I replace with understanding and agreement.
Revolt, I replace with music that comes from my violin.
Pain I replace with oblivion.
Revenge, I replace with victory.
I will be able to love above all discontentment.
To give even when I am stripped of everything.
To work happily even when I find myself in the midst of all obstacles.
To dry tears even when I am still crying.
To believe even when I am discredited…
Thy will be done. Thy will be done. –Paulo Coelho, The Aleph
Last week in my Sunday School Class, we were discussing Malice and Forgiveness. So our Teacher asked a certain Brother what he would do if his wife went off with another man and came back asking for forgiveness. His response was that, he would forgive her because he was now born again. When asked whether he would take her back, he replied: “God said ‘I will not share my glory with anybody’, I cannot take her back, I can’t share my glory with another man”. Even though his response seemed funny at the time, it reminded me of my own self-righteousness.
Many times, we are hurt and disappointed, sometimes, even stripped bare of the things we hold dearest to us. Then we learn to move on and forget, without never really letting go. Someone said unforgiveness keeps you scavenging in yesterday’s debris, it’s true. We forgive, but we hold on to the hurt. We forgive, but we wait for our chance to say “I told you so”. We let go, because we hope that God will deal them a bigger punishment than we could ever hand them. So every day, we carry on in our lives, dragging dead horses around.
Here’s what I have learnt. Our life journeys are made of sharp bends and straight roads, and many times, when people hurt us, it’s really just how the story should go. Forgiveness means willingly letting go and praying for the ones who have hurt us. It’s what Jesus did on the Cross; it’s what Stephen did when he was being stoned. Forgiveness is knowing that the Ones who have hurt us can do it again if given the chance, but accepting that it’s human nature. It’s releasing the ones who have hurt us to live their lives, and accepting the ones that still want to be a part of our lives as much as we can. Above all, forgiveness is Freedom- the freedom to soar without the burden of hatred.
Forgiveness is what the Amish Community in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania inspires us to live. After a Shooter stormed their one room school in 2006, killing five children and injuring another five before killing himself, the Community not only forgave the killer, but donated to his Widow and three kids.
Whatever it is, let it go- all of it. Out with the old. In with the new. You can’t start a new chapter when you keep re-reading the old one.