There is a saying, “People will forget what you said, people will even forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I think I agree with this sentiment in my human flesh, but I must admit that I have often wrestled with this quote because one of the things I have come to understand at this middle stage of my life, is that if I cannot forget; I cannot truly forgive. And if I cannot forgive, I cannot truly live.
I have spent the past five days of my life going through something major. Life changing in fact. This is my first post since Monday. While I do not want to get into my personal health issues on a post, I can tell you that NOTHING puts your life into better perspective than to be laying still for days being cut on, poked, or proded, sick, injured, helpless, or diagnosed with some major disease or illness. Many of you know of what I speak. You know because you have been there. Or you have cared for a loved one or friend going through the same. Life has a funny way of checking us, and correcting us if we will allow it to do so. It will STOP us cold and say “HEY, Pay attention to me.” Forget all of this stuff you are mired in, forget the people who are unworthy of the gift of you, forget the pains you have suffered, and start LIVING Your life NOW because time is promised to no man, and death is truly the debt that all men pay.”
I was stuck and God wanted me to wake up. I wanted badly to truly resolve a longstanding conflict, have a clear conscience, and just hear this person’s voice and have them hear mine before I had to deal with some medical issues. But I wanted restoration so badly, that I did not guard my heart well, and as a result I experienced a pretty hurtful rejection at the hands of someone I once truly loved and admired. I forgot the painful lessons I learned at this person’s hands. Something we should never do. We should forgive and forget the offense YES, but we should never forget the lessons we learned in the process or what we learned about that person’s character in the process.
Here’s the thing: Every once in a while if we are lucky on this journey called life, we meet someone who is our alter ego, the other “us”, we connect instantly, and we fall first in deep like, then we fall in love. Stick with me here. Love does not always mean sexual or “eros” love. The Bible makes reference to several friendships between men (e.g., David & Jonathan), women (Elizabeth & Mary) , and even Christ himself with one of his disciples (John) and uses the term “fell in love with”. . .Our problem is in the year 2013, everything means SEX to us. Every friendship we see that is authentic, powerful, and deeply felt now gets the proverbial “side-eye” because we cannot imagine two people feeling so passionately about one another and life that it could be chaste and pure. How tragic for us as a culture. How truly sad.
The truth is we are all souls looking for a home. We are spirits looking for peace. And let’s face it if we are honest our greatest hurts, losses, and pain have to do with relationships gone wrong, or conflicts unresolved. We stiffen our lip, toughen our resolve, and we do our best to “forgive” the offense, ask for forgiveness, or deal with the loss as best we can. Sometimes we find the courage to reach out, see if we can talk it out, ask to be heard, and more importantly listen so that maybe, just maybe we can learn something of value, and we can heal one another, maybe restore one another, or at the very least walk away having loved one another and wished each other well.
Here is my point in sharing: As I thought about this over the past week, I realized that it was not in the forgiving that my healing would begin. (Don’t Miss This). I had forgiven this person long ago. I apologized, I owned my part. I covered with love all they had done to hurt me, because that is what love does. I reached out in love, when most people would have walked away. Yet, I had to accept that we were in two very different places in our maturity, our spiritual walk, and in our ability to love and restore people. My healing of this hurt will only begin when I can learn to FORGET. It’s funny we humans have a lot of self-made rules. We have these boundaries we set-up and these false notions of what “God” tells us to do, when in point of fact GOD has spelled out really clearly how we are to forgive, how we are to love, how we are to resolve conflict, how we are to restore, and how we are to forget when we have been offended, hurt, or suffered great loss. Never let people put their words or cold heart in God’s mouth. There are no different definitions of love, brotherhood, friendship or how we are to treat people. We are to treat people exactly as we ourselves want to be treated. PERIOD.
People will manipulate you badly if you allow them to do so, so do yourself a favor and do not allow yourself to be manipulated. Have a set of timeless principles that you build you life on and do not stray far from them. Know who you are and whose you are. Here are three things you should put into practice if you truly want release from past hurts, and if you truly want to live you life forward. Know that I am talking to me first and foremost:
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. But the real power lies in the forgetting. When God forgives us, the word says He also forgets. We should try it.
Forgiveness is how we release, but forgetting is how we learn and move forward at the same time.
Forgiving and forgetting are a couple. You really can’t have one without the other. Forgetting is where we get the peace.