Houses need painting and sometimes major repairs. Cars need new tires and sometimes fail us by breaking down. Some days at work are extremely hard and make us want to quit.
Some paychecks are smaller than others. Sometimes bills come due all at the same time, when you have very little money to pay them.
Have you ever noticed though, things like money, bills, and work issues usually don’t even compare to the issues we have with other people?
Our biggest problems in life usually aren’t the challenges we face, but rather the people we have to deal with while we face those challenges.
Many times those same people are those who claim to love us.
I had always found it easy to overlook, forgive, and let people off the hook, up until I developed a hormone imbalance so bad that my body and mind fight against me, and cause me to feel negative emotions.
Also a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and getting kicked around by people has caused my reaction to another person’s negative behavior to be more like that of a fighter than a lover.
I have to purposely stop, take a deep breath, realize and consider what is happening to cause my emotions to get out of hand.
I then have to remember who I am and what I’m made of to be able to react in a positive manner when someone hurts me.
What use to be my first reaction, is now a conscious decision I have to make to act out in forgiveness and love.
What is Forgiveness?
Years of experience has taught me that forgiveness doesn’t mean that the person is not guilty. It doesn’t mean forgetting. Some things are almost impossible to forget.
No. Forgiveness simply means letting go of the pain the incident is causing us; releasing it, and choosing to not allow it to burden our soul.
In doing this, to others, we appear like we don’t care. Toward God, we remain innocent, and in control of our reactions and behavior.
Isn’t that all that matters? That our hearts remain innocent; free of guilt, shame, and anger? Free in knowing we did the right thing?
Even if that other person continues to judge you, treat you badly, or do the wrong thing toward you, wouldn’t you rather know you did the right thing?
You can be a Mary or you can be a Martha.
If you are not familiar with that story, here is a link.
Martha was a busy body, getting things done, but in a selfish demanding way.
Mary concentrated not on herself and what needed to be done, but rather on her Lord and what He required of her.
Martha spent time getting all upset about nobody helping her, bossed others around, and was agitated with busy work.
Mary spent time listening and learning.
Martha got so frustrated about Mary not helping that she demanded that the Lord “MAKE” Mary help her.
This shows what her personality was like; she was selfish, pushy, demanding, dominating and controlling.
Think about this for a second. Martha demanded the Great Spiritual Leader, who fed a multitude of people with a measly five loaves and two fish, to MAKE Mary leave His side, and go to the kitchen to work.
She put so much pride in her busy work that she disrespected the Lord and put her own needs above others.
Can you imagine the gall it took to interrupt Jesus’ bible study to demand Him to make her sister help?
She wanted her sister to be equal with her in servitude and she felt so dissatisfied about it that she questioned the Lord’s behavior and motives as well!
Martha questioned Jesus, a man Who knew no sin. Wow, what an ego!
Jesus told Martha that she wasn’t just upset about her sister not helping. He told her she was upset and worried about MANY things. Mary was getting the blunt end of all of Martha’s bitterness.
Mary was getting accused and judged because of more things than simply not helping in the kitchen. Maybe Mary had not helped Martha to her liking with “many things” in the past.
Martha was apparently bitter toward Mary for far more reasons than that one incident, which probably means Mary made it a habit to not help Martha on a regular basis.
Have you ever tried to help someone who is bitter, jealous, and envious? Not an easy task!
I am guessing Mary probably avoided her sister because of her sister’s negativity toward her.
Jesus told Martha she was wrong. Worry is wrong. Busy work is wrong because it isn’t productive. Bitterness is wrong because it isn’t loving, it’s hateful.
Mary had chosen the right thing, she had chosen peace.
Mary didn’t allow Martha’s worry, envy, and judgmental attitude to control her behavior. She continued to sit at Jesus’ feet until HE defended her.
Apparently, Mary was forgiving with her sister because I don’t believe Jesus would have defended her otherwise. I believe He would have corrected both of them.
Forgiveness was designed to give you peace of mind.
It may be hard to stay on track doing what you know is right for you and your own family when you have people constantly yelling at you for the decisions that you make.
But it is absolutely necessary for your own peace of mind to keep listening and learning, and staying on track moving toward your destiny.
Don’t get distracted with what all of the Martha’s want you to do.
If we constantly do things everyone else expects us to do, we miss the mark and leading for our own lives.
We forgive in hopes that one day someone will return the favor.
When others are offended at us, if we choose to not retaliate, get upset, or lash out, peace will be our reward.
I am always sure to make a conscious decision to forgive, no matter how I am treated. And, trust me, I have been treated quite unfairly in life.
I have been bullied by a particular family member all of my life, to such a great degree that I have to avoid this person.
As a manipulative measure they hinder me in doing the right thing, and then turn around and tell others that I don’t help.
They try to turn other people against me by twisting my words, spreading rumors, and stirring up strife. They try to get other people to talk bad about me and think the worst of me.
Yet, this person claims to “love” me.
That isn’t love. Love is kind. It is easy to be entreated. It does not boast of oneself. It is not proud of what one does. It does not envy what another person chooses in life. It is not jealous. It does not take revenge, take charge, or dominate.
Love takes a back seat rather than a front seat.
Love steps aside when evil tries to be in charge because love has no part with evil. Love isn’t pushy, it is helpful. Love avoids conflict, entices peace and forgiveness, and hopes for wisdom in a situation.
No one wants anyone lording over them.
I may have all the power in the world, so that I am able to rule nations, but if I do not have love, I am nothing.
The person I previously mentioned has been one of my biggest challenges. I hit a brick wall every time I try to have a relationship with this person because they are just like Martha in that story; dominating, manipulative, and controlling.
I’ve tried talking to them, reasoning with them, and even avoiding them.
Nothing helps to make our relationship better. Nothing you do is right in a Martha’s eyes.
Sometimes all we can do is throw our hands up and let them have their time to gloat in their own servitude spotlight.
You can’t change other people. Arguing with a person doesn’t change them. Getting angry, fighting, cursing, throwing punches, being bitter, saying what’s on your mind; none of those things change other people.
It only brings you deeper into your own anger or bitterness. The only thing I have found that truly gives you peace of mind is to let it all go, mind your own business, and pull away.
I like Wikipedia’s definition of forgiveness:
Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender, however legally or morally justified it might be, and with an increased ability to wish the offender well.
Throwing your hands up is sometimes all you can do. Don’t get pulled into their drama. Love them, be there for them if they need you, but don’t fall prey to their devices, or allow yourself to be dominated.
Keep in mind, people who are bound are jealous of those who are not. Jealousy will cause a person to treat you with disrespect.
That disrespect doesn’t have to be tolerated, nor should it be.
Avoiding people is sometimes all we can do, but God would rather you avoid someone and love them from afar, than to be angry and resentful all the time.
All my life I was convinced by certain family members that I should keep people in my life that were bad influences, abusive, or neglectful.
I grew up surrounded by negativity and was told that I needed to love and forgive those who hurt me, especially if they were kin to me.
Being kin to me somehow gave them a free pass to abuse, neglect, and treat me unfairly and poorly. I was supposed to look the other way because of the title they carried.
I was pushed to have a relationship with kin folk that I didn’t want to have anything to do with. They were toxic and brought me down.
Once I was grown and realized this, I pulled away. They treated me like I was wrong, but reality was, I was learning and listening.
Let me give you some advice I wish I’d had a long time ago. When you realize someone is toxic, pull away! It doesn’t even matter if they are in your immediately family, pull away anyway.
A toxic person will only bring you down, but don’t become unloving, or allow yourself to feel resentful toward them because that disrupts your destiny.
I may be angry for a while when someone hurts me. It may take time to let the steam off. But, in the end, I will always forgive.
Have you ever noticed that most people tend to take revenge on others when they feel they have been done wrong? If you hurt me, I will hurt you back, is their mindset.
I’m not going to try and act like a saint in front of all of you because my online journal is not about that.
It is about finding the truth within ourselves and our own personal situation, and then using that truth to break free from things that hold us back in life.
It’s about getting rid of the desire or need to put on a facade. It’s about being real and open.
So, yes, the truth is, I have thought about taking revenge many times in my life. Especially to those who abused me as a child. As a matter of fact, after learning how to use a gun, I thought about it more than once.
Not that I wanted to hurt anyone, don’t get me wrong. But I thought about justice; I thought about what it would feel like to hold the gun to my main oppressors head and intimidate him the way he did me when I was eleven years old.
I don’t normally entertain negative thoughts when I realize I’m having them because it’s counter intuitive to living a successful life, but the thought did occur to me that it might wake him up to his own reality for someone to put him in his place.
I know his name, his address, and even the name of one of his kids. I could very easily show up at his house and remind him of who I am and what he did to me.
I mean, what he did to me changed my entire world. My reality was altered because of him. Why should he get off scot free when he was the one who did wrong?
I used to think about revenge because how many people has my abuser hurt since then? How many other young girls have fallen victim to his evil ways because his abuse was overlooked and excused by those who should’ve helped me?
When his daughter turned eleven, did she get abused too? Revenge would’ve probably stopped him from hurting others. So, of course, I considered it and thought about it.
But let me tell you what I thought about the most…
…We reap what we sow. That is ALWAYS and has always been my first consideration. I don’t want to reap bad things in life.
Other people will reap what they sow. And, if I retaliate, so will I; therefore I watch my steps closely.
Revenge on Loved Ones
What about when we take revenge on someone who hasn’t purposely hurt us. Like, our parents, or our siblings, for example.
Family members sometimes have good intentions toward us and are really just trying to either mind their own business, keep the peace, OR maybe they are simply listening to the voice of God that says, “Stay away, listen to Me, and do what I say, NOT what they say.”
We take revenge by lashing out, talking bad about them, or trying to get them in trouble in some way because we don’t understand their intentions or motives behind what they do or don’t do.
My plea to you is to let that go. Decide right now in your heart that you will never retaliate again. It is essential to our peace of mind that we don’t let negativity in. We choose our own destinies and the best way to have a peaceful life is to choose to react to others in peace.
It is okay to try and talk things out, but if that person refuses to get along with you, just let it go. Don’t talk bad about them (that’s the hard part because we all feel the need to vent), continue to be angry at them, or retaliate.
I know from experience how things can get out of hand quickly when you’re dealing with a narcissist, someone with a mental, or drug issue, and so I get it that some conflicts can’t be avoided.
Just remain at peace despite that and let them reap whatever it is they will reap for their own actions. You reap the good things that your actions bring, and all will get what they deserve in the end.
What is done in secret will come to light.
Sometimes the best way to forgive is to stop having a relationship with that person. It may hurt for a while, but trust me, you’ll get use to the peace it brings. 😉