Unforgiveness has nothing to do with others

In moments of stress and anger, have you ever been so hurt that you decide that you simply will not forgive someone this time? I’m talking about those incessant sins that may be a part of how another person habitually treats us, the kind that wear you down and make you want to write off everything as loss, in the presence of your anger. I know for a fact I am not alone in being capable of gee that mad. When friends or family slight me in a way that makes me “certain” that they don’t care for me, I need to step back.

I am utterly convinced that unforgiveness has nothing to do with others. It comes down to whether we believe in mercy. I dont mean just a little morsel of faith in mercy, but in selling out your own anger because you actively decide that bitterness isn’t the life made for you. I desperately want to be able to not be ashamed of myself when I tell my story, and a truly compassionate God asks me why I couldn’t just bear a little more forgiveness. In my sin and what I don’t want to confront directly, worse is the feeling that I couldn’t get over my own pettiness long enough to just trust God to be the justice over my life. The Saints were destroyed and the Prophets wiped off from the face of the earth, but still I stay angry, believing in justice based on my limited eye sight. Perfect justice leaves me out. But yet, I get so mad.

I  don’t want to be known as someone who sows discord in those she loves. I really don’t want that. My faith is my identity, and I put it on knowing that in it, I will be judged. I’d rather feel ashamed and repent of sin than feel like I have to carry prejudice with me, even if I am forgiven. I can do better in grace, so I should. I don’t really want to retaliate or be angry. I want to be someone who offers mercy regardless. And if I love my family and my friends when they hurt me? How can I begrudge them mercy? How can I physically bear it?

The conflict over what if all to forgive is not what I need in my life. I would rather forgive and let God judge than feel like I’m causing problems for his plan my dragging up old pain and wearing it as my own crown of thorns. None of us need that. I want to be able to offer the ones I love something better.

And maybe they don’t deserve it, but for frick’s sake, being able to know mercy is beautiful in the first place, let alone being able to share it. We are all under grace. I just don’t want to add to the burden of those I most care about. And if we really stop and take a moment to seek help from God and put away our anger, none of us do.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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