Thursday, January 24, 2013

All I ask is a truly forgiving heart

Something to ponder about: "Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against the natural instinct to to pay back evil with evil .... It has its perfect exemplar in the forgiveness of Christ, who on the cross prayed: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.'" --- Pope John Paul II, Rome 2002 (from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II)

How can you forgive someone who has hurt you for the nth time?

The answer: forgive yourself first for letting that same person hurt you again.

Then, you will truly forgive the person who hurt you the most.

Eventually, you will move forward, hopeful that the person who hurt you learn to forgive himself or herself for all the hurt that he or she has done to you and to others.

So easy to say, but really hard to do. Especially if you keep on forgiving, giving chances, accepting, but you were repeatedly abused, hurt, mocked --- the works.

I thought I have already forgiven myself on the "lighter" problem I talked about in my previous post. That we were heading toward reconciliation. But over the weekend, I was disappointed again, driven mad, fooled. And I never learned my lesson.

After hours of exhaustion because of begging, crying, convincing the other person that he was making the wrong decision, I eventually calmed down. Then, I said sorry to the other person for being angry because I am hurt again. That I am sorry for being too honest about the matter because I felt the truth has to be said, and it is never easy to say --- or hear the truth. And all these fell again on deaf ears.

Is there any bright spot from this happening? Yes.

My friends --- even those I am friends with online but having very good, meaningful conversations with --- assured me that I have done everything possible to make things work. But there are really people who are so hurt, who have unresolved issues, that they consciously or sub-consciously hurt others to feel good about themselves.

I am coping now, steadily forgiving myself.

Shedding copious amount of tears also helped me feel better. However, I look forward to cry over joyous happenings.

Saying thank you to the Lord for giving me a big heart capable of limitless loving and a huge capacity to forgive is what I consciously, repeatedly doing these days, especially when I am feeling low again over this latest blow. And I found the following text from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II:
Today, I will focus on one person to whom I should offer forgiveness and I will resolve to let my act of forgiveness to be forever. 
And such act is what I am striving to do once more.

Thinking also about my health --- how I need to be well --- is driving me too, to let go of this recurring source of drama. According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness can lead to:
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Channeling my energy and time on more pressing matters at work and at home is also my way to be occupied and not dwell anymore on this latest blow.

As such, let us all start to actively choose to forgive the person who has offended us (as there are some grave cases like sexual abuse that it is "permitted" not to forgive).

Let us move away from being a victim.

Let us release ourselves from the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

I hope these 9 additional quotes on forgiveness (with religious overtones or none) will be helpful to us all as we forgive, let go, and move forward:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.”
― Wm. Paul Young, The Shack 

“Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for?

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie   
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