About 5 months ago my church did a service with the theme "Say what you need to say". Complete with a rendition of Jo.hn May.ers song. The service was about how limited our time is here on Earth and how important it is to be upfront and honest with your feelings and your thoughts. They focused on forgiveness.
This service hit me quite hard because I have a "someone" in my life that hurt me beyond repair. This person's actions altered the rest of my life, and who I was to become. I would never be the same person after this person hurt me. Although this happened many many years ago, it has haunted me, continued to hurt me and has continued to change my life. While I was sitting at this service, I realized that even though what that person did caused me and the rest of my family so much grief, it has made me the person I am today. It made me stronger, wiser, more resilient and molded who I was to become. How can I begrudge that? I think if I hadn't gone through that situation, I may not have been able to survive this trek through infertility.
It was at that moment while I was thinking of how many things have changed for me because of that situation that I realized I wasn't angry anymore. I held no more hostility for this person, in fact I found myself holding compassion and pity for this person instead of the hate and rage I had felt for so many years. I knew it was time to forgive. Correct that...I knew that I HAD forgiven.
That, I found out, was the easy part. The hard part of forgiving is actually contacting the person that hurt you and TELLING them that you have forgiven them. I have not spoken to this person in almost 15 years. How do I begin to let this person know that I forgive them? I started by looking this person up on the Internet. I found the phone number and saved it in my phone. That was four months ago.
God has been tugging on my heart since that day in church to call this person. To give this person the gift of Grace and sense of peace. I know in my heart this person is not evil, this person has paid the price for the sins committed in the past. God has been urging me to call, to let this go for my own health and well being, as well as the well being of the person that hurt me.
At least once a week I would hold my cell phone, scroll through the contacts and see this person's name. I would stare at it with my thumb hovering over the "CALL" button. But...couldn't do it. I would hit clear and go on with my business. Four months of this. I had no idea how I would react to hearing this person's voice, what would I say? Would I cry? What would that person's reaction be?
Yesterday I was on my way home and I had an almost out of body experience. I was driving down the 60 headed home from work and without a second thought, as if this was an everyday occurrence, I picked up my phone, found this person's name and hit "CALL". I was calm, my mind wasn't racing, in fact I was at peace.
The person answered, I confirmed that I had the right number, identified myself and then said "You have been on my mind and in my heart a lot over the last couple of months and I just wanted to call you and tell you that I forgive you. I may not ever be able to have a relationship with you, but I forgive you." I breathed a little heavier now in the anticipation of the response. All I heard was sobbing on the other end of the phone.
I immediately knew that I had done the right thing and that I should have done this a long time ago. Even though this person hurt me to the core of my being, by withholding my forgiveness, I had hurt this person back in return. Granted, it wasn't intentional, but I had been holding this person hostage while all the time, I thought this person was holding me hostage.
We spoke for a few minutes, this person expressed gratitude, sorrow, and so much appreciation. I feel that the chains of this pain have been lifted from me...as well as the person on the other end of the line too. I feel a lightness that I haven't felt for a very long time and the satisfaction that I was able to do something I didn't think I was ever able to do. I heard this person's voice and instead of hate and resentment, I felt compassion. The Lord has healed my heart, although the scars still exist...they are scars because I am healed.
What an amazing gift I was given...and able to pass on.
So I challenge you...what have you been holding in? What do you have inside you that you need to say...but haven't been able to. What is it that you are waiting for? Our time here is short, we never know when our day will come. I know that if this person passed away before I was able to express my forgiveness, I never would have been able to forgive myself. Is there someone in your life that you need to express forgiveness to? Is there someone in your life that you need to apologize to?