Once upon a time I was a different person. I rarely doubted anyone. I took each person for what they said they were. I forgave most simply because they said they were sorry for some of the most hurtful heartbreaking things that had been done to me. And I dropped everything at a moment’s notice to be there for friends who needed me.
Sadly, like most people in this world, I have changed. I was hurt, deeply, in several different instances where those that I loved and considered dear friends betrayed me in one way or another. I didn’t change overnight, it was after being hurt repeatedly to different degrees by various loved ones over the course of years and allowing the hurt and frustration to build up.
In trying to move past the pain, I blocked out the memory, sometimes almost “deleting” the person from my memory to the best of my ability and pretending the hurt never happened. “They’re dead to me” I would so easily exclaim if someone asked me when I last talked to the person, proud of my hardened heart and letting the world know that my ego was not bruised but instead stroked.
Obviously, this is ineffective as the hurt is still there, growing, causing me to be doubting, flaky, and distrusting of others. Besides, as soon as in some way or another whether by running across an old picture of different people, hearing another speak of them, or running into them the pain was quickly remembered as though a bandage was ripped away from the wound, taking the stitches with it and leaving all my anguish exposed. I talk myself down from the anger. “That person has no idea. And look who I am now in spite of all they did to hurt me! They have suffered such a loss to not know me any longer! All of the happiness they claim to have now is fake, because they certainly don’t deserve it. I dare them to attempt to do the same thing to me now. They’d have another thing coming!” Only to realize very quickly “They probably could care less about anything to do with me.”
And here is where it comes full circle…
The reality smacks me right in the face because I KNOW that there are people out there that I’ve hurt, whether intentional or unintentional, that I could care less about what is going on in their lives or where they are now.
Ouch. “What kind of person am I? That’s just disgusting! I wasn’t raised to be this way! Forgive and forget, love one another!”
It seems just in the last few months I’ve been tossed in with memories of many different past hurts and had to deal with them. Sometimes so overwhelming, not understanding why, my only option was to cry and have a pity party. Just a few moments ago I was asking God “Why do I have to go through all this, dealing with all of these people so close together?” I wasn’t even done asking when I realized it’s because something needs to change. I learned at a woman’s conference I attended years ago as a teenager that in order to move past the hurt, grow from it, and heal you must forgive those that hurt you.
Now, I’m going to be honest, as much as I say I forgive everyone for whatever they did to me, there are probably 2 or 3 that I don’t want to forgive. 1 of those people I forgave for one of the worst things a person could do to another mother only to be betrayed nearly the same way all over again months later. I realize that forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to be friendly, but just the simple act of letting go of the hurt and sometimes anger seems impossible. Why should that person be forgiven for such a horrible thing? I guess the answer is simple, because if I don’t I’m living in sin and as long as I carry this burden around I’m going to be unhappy. I don’t want to be this person who doesn’t take people for their words, doubts every single persons motive for being nice to me, assuming every friend I have secretly hates me. Why should everyone in my life now pay for the sins of those that were in my life in the past?
If only everyone had a stamp on their foreheads to state whether they were trustworthy, and meter to show just how real or fake they really are…
That’s not how it is, though. This is real life. Time for me to pick myself back up, again. Time to dust off my genuine smile, and know that people are being nice to me because they simply like me, not to dig up dirt on a myself, a friend, or family member. Time to take people for their words, and not second guess every other statement.
It might take a little time, and that’s okay. I’m damaged, but through forgiveness of others and forgiveness from God, I can be whole again.
Originally written by Angie as "If Only..." on February 4th, 2010