good life by christy bullock
Part of cultivating a good life is learning how to forgive.
As a young girl, I was put in a situation that would change my life forever in so many ways. Not only was my innocence taken away, so was my ability to trust and forgive, or at least I thought it was…for over 25 years. That’s right, for 25 years I hung on to the hurt because I couldn’t forgive, or more truthfully, I didn’t know how to forgive.
There were lots of people it seemed for me to be angry at — the abuser, the one who put me in this situation, the one who knew about it but did nothing to help stop it, the one who should have protected me as a child but didn’t. The problem was that all of these people (except the abuser) were people I still had relationships with in my life and even though we carried on as if nothing ever happened, deep down in my heart there was a part where I had locked away all the hurt and resentment that I couldn’t seem to let go of. Over the years though, I began to realize that every important relationship in my life was affected by the rust on that lock and if I really wanted to have peace, then I had to be willing to be brave enough to open the lock and let out the pain because only then could the healing begin.
I started slowly with one person at a time. I put myself in his or her position and by doing that, I was able to see things through a different perspective. I began to understand better why things happened the way they did. Did that mean I agreed with what they did? Absolutely not. But for the first time, instead of anger, I felt sincere empathy. With empathy came a feeling of love, with love came forgiveness, and with forgiveness came peace.
When I learned how to forgive I finally felt peace.
Through the years I have had the opportunity to forgive over and over (lucky me!). Some of those opportunities were just as big as the one above, but even though forgiving someone is hard to do, it’s something I want to do. That doesn’t mean it’s always an easy process though; it just means I’m choosing to forgive.
Let’s face it, life is complicated. We are all victims to the injustices of life to some degree: abuse, infidelity, betrayal, heartbreak, the hurtful words of others, the list goes on and on. But I’m a firm believer that each of us will need to be forgiven one day, so if I can forgive others then hopefully I, too, will be forgiven. Many times the offender may not seek our forgiveness, but once we understand how much happier our lives can be if we can forgive them anyway, it becomes a little easier to start the process.
If your pain is too deep to tackle alone, then seek professional help. If you’re holding a grudge, let it go. If you’ve chosen to be offended, then chose to forgive.
It all starts with a willing heart.
Note from Becky
Why do I have the feeling so many of you reading Christy’s message today can relate? The trials and hurt we each go through are not cookie-cutter experiences, but I’d be wiling to bet most of us have the need to truly forgive someone. Easier said than done? For most, absolutely. But it can be done. And it must be done.
I am so grateful for the heartfelt reminder that Christy has shared so openly with us today. She has been a dear friend for about 15 years. We have seen her go through some truly devastating challenges (her son died in a tragic accident at the age of 15, a divorce followed shortly after that, and I’m barely scratching the surface with just those two things). I know Christy has relied heavily on God and she has a beautiful support system … but ultimately Christy is in charge of her choices and she has chosen peace by the way of forgiveness. I love her so much for that… and a hundred other reasons.