“Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next week or month or even year…but I will get you back!”
Yeah. Those words usually flowed out of the mouth of Jefe after he had been done wrong. Although he had been taught and even shown mercy and grace, he had a vindictive streak in him. He spelled forgiveness: r-e-v-e-n-g-e.
It’s easy to say, “I forgive you” but to actually follow through on the action can be hard. I’m no theologian but when I think of when Jesus was asked the question about forgiveness, he knew our human condition and responded to that. “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Often, we replay the misdeed in our head and hold on to that hurt or pain. Do we truly forgive if we continually revisit the wrong done to us?
Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Jefe – you can’t expect me to be somebody’s punching bag and continue to let them hurt me knowing that I’ll continue to forgive them.” Of course not. Common sense and wisdom are definitely needed. We’re not made to be anyone’s whipping post.
Does Jefe have this forgiveness stuff down right? Heck no! He is, however, working at it – daily! There are times when he still wants to be vindictive. He can admit that he’ll even find ways of bringing up the hurt/transgression to punish that individual for doing him wrong. Is that forgiveness? No. He is still letting the pain hold him captive and in turn, tries to keep the offender along with him for the ride.
Everything won’t always come up roses and rainbows when you choose to forgive. You even have to be OK with apologies that will never be spoken. Forgiveness is a powerful thing when you let it. It can set both parties free. It is a choice for sure. Choose to be at peace with yourself. Choose to love and show love. I’m reminded of the scripture about love and the part where it says, “love keeps no records of wrong”. Dang it – I’ve been doing this love and forgiveness thing wrong! I’ve kept the records in file cabinets of my mind.
Nothing says I love you more than choosing to forgive and truly showing it. Nothing shows love, if you are the offender than being truly contrite and choosing to change your ways. Sometimes circumstances don’t allow you to see or talk to the person who wronged you. Choose to forgive them anyways. Say it out loud if you have to. Write a letter and then throw it away or burn it. However you choose to, be like Nike and Just Do It!
Forgiveness begins within ourselves. Maybe you’re like Jefe and have a hard time forgiving yourself. Maybe you’ve said or done something that you think is past forgiveness. NOTHING is ever past forgiveness. In this crazy cynical world we are taught to be hyper-vigilant against wrong doing and it is our right to seek revenge. Choose to break free from whatever you hold yourself bound to. Live in the freedom God wants and has for you. Even if you have to do it a few times a day. Or 7 x 70.