If you guys have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the church. As I’ve also mentioned, I’ve been having a really hard time forgiving the church and, more specifically, the few people who made my spiritual life and emotions towards the church a living hell.
I really just feel so bitter and red-angry when I think of the people who did this to me and ignored me, trashed me after their stupidity was revealed, casting me off like something dirty so that they in all their blind filth could keep some twisted notion of keeping themselves clean and above my sinful reach.
Even as I write this, I can slowly feel myself turning into something savage, teeth clenched, eyes fierce like a snarling dog with arched back or a boxer with both fists up and blood lust in his eyes. I want to tear those people apart and avenge the maltreatment I and my loved ones underwent under those black hands in white gloves.
But then I remember God.
Ah, God! At times, my sinful desires are so desirable that God is like a wall that blocks better things – the things I want most in life. I want to tear my conscience down and have the flames of my anger evaporate the Holy Spirit within me.
However, I have lived too long and walked so many different paths, as young as I am. I have learned the hard way that whatever God says not to do, it’s for a good reason. More than a good reason – the right reason. And doing the right thing, though hard and against our deepest desires, is always the right thing – the better thing – for you and for everyone – in the long run.
God made quite clear in the Bible to forgive and forget, to leave your vengeance up to God. In other words, I am to trust only in God and leave my life in His hands rather than making myself miserable with all of these dark thoughts and struggling with what I can and can’t do.
I kept the above in mind and tried to forgive, tried to forget. But I couldn’t. And it wasn’t just because I was angry. No anger comes without reason in a sane person. I was hurt. I was hurt and I hated it.
So, I prayed.
Last year was one huge life lesson in learning to lean on God, to admit that I can’t do it and just toss it up to Him and so, give myself some peace. I realized after trying and trying to forgive and forget that I was incapable of forgiving and, especially, forgetting. And it wasn’t a terrible thing that so many hard-hearted Christians make it out to be. It wasn’t like I wanted to feel so terrible! I’m not a terrible person if I can’t forgive and forget because well…feeling bitter and terrible after going through embittering and terrible things is only a natural human reaction!
No…what I was going through – the anger and the sorrow – was all understandable, and most importantly, I understood that God understood. He was cool with it and still loved me just as much as He would if I were a perfect human. But He still wanted me to obey Him for my own good and for the good of others.
So, I stopped fighting it and gave the fight over to Him.
“You deal with it, God. Help me get over this because You know I can’t do this – not like this, not on my own.”
And He answered my prayers.
Almost right after I prayed that prayer, I came across this post by the amazing blogger “Unshakeable Hope”: [LINK HERE TO POST].
The post really made me re-think my anger and my emotions.
I realized that not forgiving and forgetting was disobedience to God. I was reminded in all of reality check’s harshness that an order is an order and if God told me to build a bridge and get over it, that is what I had to do. And I didn’t have to do it perfectly, I just had to try and God would take care of it. Again, I had to admit that I’m a piece of crap who is incapable of doing it on my own and that God would give me the ability to do anything.
So, like Unshakeable Hope, I grit my teeth, clasped my hands together, glared at the ceiling and prayed, “God, I really, really don’t want to forgive those !@#% but I’m doing this because You told me to.”
After I did this, I slowly started to realize: why did these people, these memories continue to bother me when these people were no longer a part of my life, these memories memories because they were in the past and not the present or even the near future? I realized that it was because they were re-playing in my head so that every day without these people and events still seemed like a day with them. These dead things were alive in my head, and I was the one keeping them alive.
For some reason, this pattern of thought made me understand that it is over. It’s over! It’s as simple as that. As my dad likes to say, “If they’re not paying your rent or putting your food on your table, they can’t be THAT important in your life, so forget them.” These people, these memories were hurtful, but the reason I couldn’t get over all of it was because I was re-playing them in my head. They are dead. They don’t have to bother me any more. So I don’t have to care about them anymore. I can forgive because now I can forget.
It’s been a slow process – an on-going process – but I’m actually starting to erase the hurt those people and the church inflicted on me and others. And it’s all through God’s power.
I’m only human, so I know it’s going to take longer to get completely over it – to build a Golden Gate bridge over it. My bridge is still a little stone bridge over a creek. But it’s a bridge nevertheless – with my name on it and planned by God. And most importantly, I’m over it.
As you can tell, I still grow angry at the thought of past things – especially when they come into play in the present (like talking crap about me/my blog and deleting me off of Facebook for expressing “negative” things about the church). But, the anger IS diminishing! Which I think is pretty amazing because it’s so hard to do.
What can I say but that God is good and that through Him, indeed, all things are possible.
So once again, thanks, God. You’re the best. (Literally).