backpacks + forgiveness
Part of cultivating a good life is forgiving.
For our newer friends here … each Sunday for the past couple of years we’ve had a weekly feature here on the blog. Each week a new guest shares their own thoughts on one specific way that they try to cultivate a good life. Once in a while I pop in to share something, and today I’m taking the opportunity to touch on forgiveness.
Before I go further, I should clarify something: I believe in Jesus Christ and know Him as my brother and my Savior. I recognize and respect that there are many faiths represented that lay eyes on this blog right now. While I refer to my faith, I can also appreciate that not everyone believes the same way. And that’s okay. I love you just the same. I’ll do me; you do you. But the principle that I’m sharing today … the piece of my heart that I’m putting out there … applies to anyone, regardless of religion.
Can I just be bold and ask the question? Are you holding onto something right now? A grudge, some hard feelings, anger, resentment … whatever you want to call it.
Part of the human experience is that we’re each going to be hurt or offended at some point — a little or a lot. Misunderstandings, unkind words, unfair situations, hurtful choices, bullying, lies, rumors, even abuse. One of the most valuable things we learn from the scriptures is that there must be opposition in all things. So really … to not experience these things? Well, that would be blissful, right? But it’s not real life.
The key, as you and I both know, is how we handle the challenges, the mistreatment, the offenses that come our way.
I want you to imagine something with me for a moment. Imagine a backpack filled with rocks. You’ve been carrying around that backpack for a while and it’s heavy. Good grief, it’s heavy! But you have some days that you don’t even really think about it or notice it because you just get so used to carrying around the extra weight. And not only the extra weight, by the way, but some of those rocks just seem to poke through the back of the backpack. So irritating, right? Are you feeling the weight? It’s uncomfortable, right?
Now I want you to imagine that someone who loves you and knows you has just come up from behind and lifts that backpack up and over your shoulders. In fact, they remove the whole thing. It’s gone. They’ve lovingly taken away the backpack.
Can you feel it?
Pure relief. The burden has been lifted! Hallelujah! Now … is there any part of you that desires to put that backpack on again? Well, that choice is yours. And it’s mine. I have carried the burden of anger. I know what it feels like to be bullied. I have experienced heartache because of another’s choices. I have been burdened by feelings of deep frustration in myself. And the way I have come out stronger from each of these road blocks is … forgiveness. Letting it go.
I want to remember the lessons that I need to take away from the experience … but I can still let it go. I can take off the backpack full or rocks. Place my burdens at my Savior’s feet. Plead with my Father in Heaven to help me truly forgive and move on. And friends, it’s real. Forgiveness is truly RELIEF. It is ridding yourself of that burden that you don’t have to carry. You. don’t. have. to. carry. the. burden.
Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Not sure how? I guarantee you have a loving Heavenly Father that knows you by name and hears your prayers. Ask for help. I testify that forgiveness is one of the great miracles and my prayer is that you can experience that first hand if you haven’t already.
Jesus forgave others and so can I. So can you. #LIGHTtheWORLD