I am grateful to have always been the kind of person to “keep short accounts”. I try to forgive, or overlook, quickly. Although I have struggled with some relationships in my life, I always worked hard not to hold onto things…not to allow bitterness and hatred into my life. I do not offend intentionally, although I have (too often, sadly) offended unintentionally in my humanness. In fact, I cannot think of any time in my life when I intentionally caused hurt. It has just not been a part of my nature. Thank G-d!! (I take not credit!) When I do become aware of offending someone, I try to make amends quickly.
As I have gotten older, however, there is one area that has sometimes become more challenging. I still try not to offend anyone intentionally, but when it comes to letting go of offenses/hurts toward me, it has become harder. It is not that I walk in bitterness, but my ability to spring back and have an open relationship has become harder.
In my first marriage, there were ongoing hurts. One time incidents were not really that big of a deal. It was easier to let go of those. But the ongoing ones presented the greatest challenge to not allowing bitterness or hatred to come in. I was forgiving and forgiving all the time as the offenses just kept coming. But, with G-d’s help, I did it! (And only with His help!) Even in the end, I still did not hate him. I was sad at how things turned out, but not bitter.
So, what has changed? Maybe it has to do with being older. I do not have the youthful energy I used to have. I am battling adrenal fatigue. I still love people, but the struggle to not allow myself to be hurt has become harder. Or maybe it is not so much hurt as I simply do not have the energy to continue to invest in relationships with people who have either broken my trust or treated me badly. It is easier to walk away than to fight for the relationship.
Now, I have to pause here for a moment of truth. Those who have treated me badly have pretty much done so out of their own brokenness. It was not malicious. There was no intent, just as I have not intended to hurt others. As I always hope that others will be understanding and forgiving of my actions stemming from my own brokenness, I need to continue to be that way in return.
One thing that helps me is to see life in the bigger picture. There are so many things in this life that simply will not matter in the next. Regarding relationships, I think of:
*whether someone is my friend
*whether what others believe about me is the truth or not
*whether someone accepts me
*whether those we love love us back
*whether we are able to live peaceably with all people (having given it our best effort)
I am sure there are more, but these are what comes to mind.
What about you? Do you struggle with forgiveness? Or unforgiveness? So you struggle with relationships? In another post, I am going to put a couple of links that have really helped me with this subject.