To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.- Lewis B. Smedes
When someone hurts you, the last thing on your mind is usually forgiveness. More often we opt for thoughts and deeds that would lead towards revenge or getting even. Or sometimes the pain runs so deep we entertain negative thoughts towards ourselves, buying into the words and actions from another. Well that my friend is a dangerous road to travel. Trust me, I’ve been there and it didn’t work out too well.
When I went through my divorce, I became severely depressed. The depression started as a tiny negative thought which rooted itself in my heart. This seed of self doubt and anger towards the one who had hurt me began to turn me into a bitter and sad human being. The more I fed this seed with my thoughts of unforgiveness and self pity, the more it grew. It grew rapidly and began to consume my every thought to the point that I could barely function outside of this bitter world I had created in my mind and heart. This served as fuel for the great cloud of depression which began to hover around me day and night. As I continued with this negative thought pattern, depression found this to be a grand opportunity to sneak in and take over. Without me even realizing it, I was feeding this beast. Before I knew what was happening I found myself in a very dark place. During this time, my memories are a bit foggy as I was barely surviving from day to day. If it wasn’t for my kids, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to get out of bed at all.
I had become so consumed with negative thoughts that I couldn’t even pray anymore. In some ways I had become more zombie like than human. Unforgiveness and depression had robbed me of all joy and emotion. I am sad to say that I stayed in this state of mind for quite some time which was not only unhealthy for me but for my children as well. However, not all was lost during this part of my life as the songwriting that took place during this time ended up being some of my best work yet. Which is proof that God can still use us even when we think we are a mess.
As the months slowly passed by and winter turned into spring, I began to find a renewed hope and energy coming forth from nature’s display. Living on an island has it’s perks. For one, being close to the ocean, the air is fresh and the grass is always green. Spring comes early here and the flowers bloom brilliantly in vivid colours which serves as a reminder that life goes on and new beginnings are ever present. As I was driving home from work on one particular sunny spring day, I decided to take in the scenic route and drive by the ocean instead of my usual mundane drive on the highway. Along the way, I pulled over to the roadside to take in the view. As I sat there taking in the breathtaking scenery, God spoke to my heart. Watching the rolling waves hit the shore was a symbol of my life at this point. Just as the ocean waves crashed onto the rocks washing away the drift wood, the waves of unforvgiveness that came crashing into my heart were washing away all traces of joy and peace. Upon this realization, I knew what I had to do. I had to forgive. I opened my heart, my mind and asked God to give me the strength I needed to truly, honesty and openly forgive. Now let me tell you, this is not an easy thing to do. It is much easier to put blame on someone else for your misery. Perhaps that person did awful things to you in the past. However, that should never give us the excuse to use the past to dictate our future. If we allow that to happen we are only closing the door to experiencing a life of contentment and peace. You might be reading this and thinking, “ You don’t have a clue as to what hell I’ve been through.” Well, no I don’t. And like wise you don’t know what I have been through either. But what I do know is that God knows every detail of your life and can give you the peace you need to experience a life full of contentment. The key is to be able to forgive those who have wronged you. To forgive does not mean to condone the behaviour, it simply means you have forgiven and released that person from your mind and heart. Without that negative energy burning a hole in your heart, you will find a freedom that will allow you to move forward with your life in a healthy way.
As you work towards forgiveness, it is my hope that you will experience God’s love and peace in a new and profound way.
Mitra Dee xo