Today I am part of a story in the Wall Street Journal on forgiveness. As many of you who regularly read my blog know, my family is now after God, the most important “thing” in my life but it definitely wasn’t always the case.
As a child, things happened and didn’t happen that caused me to see my childhood a certain way – I carried many of the hurts I felt were committed against me with me for years after leaving home. I did leave home in a hurry. While I did fall in love with the Marine Corps and being a Marine became what I wanted to be/do when I was a Freshman in High School; I also recognize now it was the fastest way for me to leave home and be on my own.
For years I was closed off to my family, carrying feelings of hurt, rejection, and anger. For years, I didn’t see or realize how emotionally closed off I was and had been at an early age. I took on the world alone and found myself in so much pain and constant struggle.
It did all eventually cumulate to me falling down to my knees and praying to God; admitting I couldn’t do it alone – that’s when I died to self and started to give my will over to Him. I began to obey His will for my life and He brought incredible change in me which lead me to being able to see the errors in my ways, my stubbornness, ego, arrogance, my self-pity, and all the love I was missing out on.
God lead me back to my family and armed me with the ability to forgive, forget and move forward. Forgiveness requires letting go of the pain we carry with us, with the emotions and hurt that become part of our identity over the years. We become so attached to that pain we almost don’t know who we would be without it. I didn’t want to be associated with a story of pain and self-pity anymore, with God I wanted to be associated to grace, glory, righteousness, strength, forgiveness and love.
Everyone in my family welcomed me back with open arms and I do recognize that as a blessing from God and I do know not everyone will necessarily encounter the same happy ending. However, for the sake of your walk with God, your peace of mind, health and well being I definitely recommend seeing the errors of your ways in the relationship(s) where forgiveness is needed and offering that forgiveness. Free yourself from the pain, hurt, anger and the identity you have tied to your story of wrongs done to you. It does not serve you; it hinders you. Create a better identity for yourself – one that involves being able to forgive.