If I remained in complete denial of my condition, I could easily chop up my excessive coughing lately to spring fever. I mean things are in bloom now so that would be a great excuse.
But I know better and hopefully after reading this post, you will too!
I really thought I was over this unforgiveness thing…especially given the gracious nature of God towards me. Yet, like Peter, I often find myself asking, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother/sister who has wronged me?”
For those who might be a tad fuzzy on the text…basically Peter requests this answer of Jesus considering that 7 times is enough based on the Jewish customs of the time. Jesus’ response was basically seventy times 7 and for those who take things literally, I warn you…please don’t in this instance.
Jesus simply meant you must forgive the one who has wronged you as many times as it takes.
I used to pray for my ex-husband…for his well-being, for his circumstances to improve, for him to find another good woman to be in his life, and for him to be able to treat her the way God intends. I was earnest in those prayers. Even in times past when I’d speak to him for whatever reason I found myself encouraging him in ways only God could give me the grace to do.
That was years ago…perhaps months after the initial separation…months after God blessed me with my home in the presence of my ex’s admitted disbelief. He just couldn’t stomach my blessings. I suppose he believed his departure would impede God’s love for me.
In retrospect, I suppose I was still basking in the glow that faith in the only Faithful God had so readily produced. If you’ve caught wind of my recent facebook post you might see another reason that God deserves my praise. Yet, I admit that I began this post days before that blessing had been revealed. I began it as follows on last Monday but conviction and timing prevented its release because I not only realized a grudge or two I still had against my ex-husband, but I also still had issues with my daughter’s father, and even my neighbor.
Here goes what was:
Well, people. I didn’t think I was any more, but boy was I wrong! Sure I’d forgiven my mother and myself, but when I began recounting some of the events I’d been through with my cousin and friend in Memphis last weekend, I remembered too much.
…So much that I found myself choking yesterday morning.
I figured when I’d written the letter to another sister who had gone through a similar fate as I had that I was done with grudges and sadness…that I wished him the best and had no hard feelings…that I was grateful I’d survived and that he was no longer part of my life…Yet, while the latter part of that is true, those hard feelings I thought were non-existent had merely been buried in my mind and heart. I hated him all over again!
I hated him for forcing me away from the bonds of family I have come to cherish so much again. I hated that I was reduced to a statistic. I hated that my daughter was the result of “his” seed. I hated that at the first warning sign, I hadn’t been strong enough to get away then. I hated that he made me fear a man’s strength then…not realizing what he really possessed was weakness.
A man who hits a woman is no man at all. He is a boy having a temper tantrum because he has not learned to appropriately deal with his anger.
There: that’s about as far as I’d gotten the other day because I suppose the wounds never healed like I suspected…now I understand that they hadn’t because they had merely been covered up.
What prompted the recollection you might ask?
The continuation of conversation with my cousin I suppose. I realized that over the years I’d isolated myself so much that I’d even neglected to tell her a lot. My cousin and I are three months apart so since birth we were joined at the hip. Only when I was attacked, we lost touch. It wasn’t purposeful…no hard feelings…more of a safety issue I suppose…the passing of loved ones was the spark that reunited our bond. So I played catch up.
I began explaining a lie my neighbor believed and spread about me. I laughed about the details…of the sheer ridiculousness of this neighbor’s accusations.
Yet she stopped laughing within a few minutes of my side of the story. God was teaching me something else about myself in that moment.
DISCLAIMER: I know that I am using she a lot, but that’s because I’m not messy just real…no names will be given…sorry for ya!
The psychologist she ( my cousin) is…I noted how surprised she (cousin again) was as was I at my actions and words. My excuse then was ” I suppose I’m just in need of getting it out” While that was true, I knew deep down what I was doing. I was reliving everything I wish I’d said to the accuser at the time of the false offense.
The difference was that then I had remained obedient to the Holy Spirit. I suppose even now as I type these words I’m just realizing that I was really angry with God for allowing me to go through it. The initial shock of it was nothing compared to the passed 3 or 4 years I’ve allowed myself to become a hermit of sorts at church and in my own neighborhood because of it. I know now that I’m a little angry with myself for even allowing what I knew wasn’t true rob me of myself for so long…to cause a domino effect of stress and disharmony in my spirit….Nonetheless, last weekend, I was “pissed” with my neighbor all over again too.
As I finished that paragraph, I’m grateful for the ability to repent…even more grateful for the ability to be freed of past drama and trauma. Which brings me back to my “issues with my ex-husband.”
Again even late that night I found myself calling him selfish and manipulative plus a few other colorful phrases…a text message prompted my hardheartedness all over again…
In the last few years since our separation and subsequent divorce, there had been times when it was plain as day that I could not stand him…even though I tried to convince myself of otherwise by religiously separating the “spirit in him” from him in my mind…I simply abhorred the thought of his existence.
While realizing that I should separate the offense from the offender when attempting to truly forgive a person, there were times that God had to chastise me for my prayers were more along the lines of “Lord, why is he constantly blessed when I’m struggling? What happened to the “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm, Father? Why am I being lied about? It’s not fair!!!!”
Typically, every time God would lead me to His word showing me that He may bless whom He pleases. Other times, He’d reassure me that yes, my enemy would be my footstool.
Well by Wednesday of this week people, I was pretty okay with everything. Now I understand that it was necessary for me to remember “too much.” I needed to get those issues out in the open so they could heal.
Sure my word choice could have been more Holy, but had I not in “my humanness” let that stuff out, I would have never realized I was still choking on unforgiveness.
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