Forgiveness

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." 
– Matthew 6:12
 
A blog on forgiveness? No thanks. Not interested. It’s about as bad as a post on gratitude, right? Don’t let me lose you yet. Read on, love.
 
This morning, I encountered God. I had a very real, personal, palpable encounter with my Maker. Now, this isn’t new for me—thank you, God. But I was surprised to be in a room full of hundreds of people with lights, loud music, and commotion when—bam—God’s Spirit filled my being with truth. 
 
And it stung a bit. It stung so much that I had to sit down, even though I was in the front row and everyone was standing. The truth hurts, so they say. 
 
This was the truth: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
 
Here’s the backstory: I was taken advantage of by someone I trusted—a person I thought was ethical, respectful, and had integrity. This individual willfully, knowingly, and continually chose to step on me in order to better herself. This person stole my money, time, and connections to better her position in the world.
 
I got burned.
 
After the shock wore off, anger took up residence. I wanted to prosecute to the highest degree. I wanted to make the situation right. I wanted justice. Redemption. Wearing anger like this feels heavy—painful even. It’s kinda like someone threw actual shit at me, and it hit me square in the chest.
 
I have been taught what to do with resentment. So, I’ve been doing it for six straight months. I get on my knees daily and pray for this human being. 
 
Pray for the person who persecutes you.
 
Every day I have prayed for the success of this person, for her well-being,  family, even her joy and freedom of emotional pain. I have daily ended my prayer with, You know my heart is not following suit with my words, so change that, too, Lord. 
 
Why do we pray for those who persecute us? For freedom.
 
Being resentful with a person hurts me—not them. I’m the one smelling of and wearing shit—not them. The person who launched the crap my way isn’t thinking about how she hurt me. She isn’t making it right with an apology nor actions. 
 
Holding emotional space—pain—for what has happened is simply hurting me. Holding onto the shit doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t unwrong her actions. It doesn’t mitigate the hurt. It doesn’t give me my money back. It doesn’t help with sleep. It doesn’t keep it alive in her heart and mind; it only keeps the fire alive in me, which continues to burn like hell. Plus, the smell is just awful! Right? It doesn’t do anything positive at all.
 
I woke up super early this morning and prayed for this woman. It was still dark outside when I whispered blessings toward her, meaning what I said through tears. 
 
Then, to my surprise, a couple hours later, after six months of faithful prayer, in a dark church with special-effects lighting, music and chatter, the Holy Spirit came upon me with a knowing presence only He can bring. 
 
“...as we forgive our debtors.
 
My awesome pastor Brian Carlucci read the Lord’s Prayer over us this morning, saying, “I pray that God will give you a word or a phrase from this prayer, telling you what He wants to speak to you.” He read the “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” part and...boom. Then he read it again over us and said, “I pray for God to give you an emotion to go with your phrase.” Sadness overwhelmed me. He read one last time and this time said, “Now I pray that God would give you an action to go along with the phrase.”
 
Oh, no.
Not an action, Lord.
 
I wanted to run out of the room. I knew what the action would be. Somehow, I sat still.
 
Forgiveness.
Outward forgiveness.
Forgiveness in action.
 

I needed to put my months of praying for this person into action in order to be free of my hurt and resentment.
Damn. It.
 
I trusted, though, that this was for my good. This was for my well-being, for my good. I wanted to be free. I wanted to be free of the heavy and sharp pain I had worn for months. And so, I chose to act in faith. I chose to act out in faith.
 
What I know is when God speaks to me in a whisper, I can trust His voice will bring me good. Isaiah 55:11 says, "God’s word always produces fruit. It shall accomplish all God wants it to and prosper everywhere God sends it."
 
I will not doubt what God tells me in the dark when I am in the light of day.
 
I knew what to do. I immediately left church and headed to the top of my favorite mountain; it’s just my thing. I brought with me two lovers of God—my girls. I shared my story with them on that mountain. I shared my hurt and what the Lord had spoken to me. I asked for their accountability so I could follow through with the action of forgiveness. 
 
Then I took a big-ass ROCK off that mountain. I chose one that symbolized my heavy heart. I brought it home with me to remind me to follow through.
 
This morning, I wrote and sent a letter of forgiveness to this person. I wished her well in her future endeavors. I relinquished her of all her debts to me financially and emotionally. 
 
I am doing this to honor God. I am doing it because I trust God’s word to be true. I am doing this to be free of my own pain. 
 

And guess what? Just like that, I am.
 
Thank you, God.