To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. — Lewis B. Smedes
Why you Should Forgive
I remember my first stint with heartbreak from a friend vividly. It was my first year in the University, and a series of misunderstandings threw everything we had into the drain.
I remember how I felt: shocked, confused, disoriented. It appeared as though I was floating in the air with fangs of darkness, aiming to choke the life out of me. I had my first taste of the reality of tears shed by screen actors. My entire body system got patches of bile splattered on them. If I had taken food at that moment, I would have died. I was very bitter. Lying down was the best position to stay in with my misery.
I vowed to be unforgiving, to have my own taste of blood when I get the chance. I said to myself, “This is the last time someone will break your heart.” The sixteen years old me nodded in affirmation. I believe that strengthened me. After some hours, I left the bed and got myself busy, with a heart filled with disgust for relationships. True to my vow, I left a trail of brokenness on my path.
I could get along with people on a formal basis, but when I got into informal relationships, I became a bar of steel, barring myself from anything that would make me relive that day I got stuck to my bed. I didn’t know I was still on that bed, emotionally and psychologically. I didn’t get hurt and didn’t get love, either. I was the boss lady and chose to give “love” but refused to receive any. I blocked off anything that would usher in pain. I also lost love in the process.
Forgiveness is a Gift
Forgiveness is a gift. The day I realized that I was dying for fulfilling love changed me. I knew I couldn’t receive love, all hard and imposing. I needed to be human: to feel, to give a chance to be hurt, and also to receive healing. Over and again. I wailed from a depth so far; I never knew it existed in me, years after the first heartbreak. When desiring to be filled with the Spirit, I needed to lay myself bare. I needed to put aside every barrier, every unforgiveness, everything that was a burden. I was asking God to help me forgive myself and to become open. I knew I held myself captive; I jailed myself to run away from pain.
After I became broken and accepting of myself as capable of getting healed, I have had greater pain. They all were lying in wait to reach me. So was love immeasurable? I learn every day to release forgiveness to myself, to step away from encasement that comes with the gift of hurts, to be able to forgive those who have hurt me intentionally or otherwise.
I want to be able to wake up as many times as possible from the bed of misery, to practice the art of living by knowing when to let go and when to hold on; to soar, to speak out, to keep silent, to see the good in people, to love, and to love after bouts of pain.
I came to discover that my pain doesn’t need to be over before I get joyful. “It is not complete” isn’t the same as “It is not enough.” As long as I have life in me, I would look for peace; I will have joy, laugh, and smile…regardless of difficulties and wrenching pain.
Forgiveness is not for them. It is for you.
Pain gives purpose meaning. When you are hurt, you are pushed to seek the antidote. It is in seeking a way to get better that you find meaning to your life’s quest. I honestly do not know the pain you faced, you are facing, or you are about to face, which can keep you all down and low. The bed is not for you to spend the rest of your days in it wallowing in misery. Wake up, not hardened and vengeful, but with forgiveness paramount in your heart. I will end with a prayer in T.D. Jakes’ The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord:
“Father, I admit that I am hurting today. I know that I have been through pain, and I realize that all of it has not totally been recovered. Yet, I know that there are those worse off than me. Forgiveness. Allow me to encourage out of my wisdom.
As I give others what I wish someone would give to me, I thank you for replenishing me and giving me living water. I confess my life is filled with forgiveness with stagnant water. All that has not leaked out of me is not moving forward, but today, O God, I stir up my waters. I am through just shedding tears of depression. I thank you for blessing me as I give to those who have need. Someone else needs this bed more than I. Now, Devil, you have held me in this bed long enough. In the name of Jesus, I will arise and be healed! Amen.”
Peace and Blessings,
Submitted by Linda Ojukwu