I just finished praying about an hour ago and am feeling free-er than I have in a really long time. I feel like I am floating. I feel like I am free. I feel like I am forgiven.
I have been praying for some time now for God to take away my bitterness, especially these bitter feelings that I had towards my brother. He loves me just as much as my mother does (and she’s loves me so much it ain’t even funny) – how could I have bitter feelings towards him? Why would I have bitter feelings towards him?
These questions began to not even matter, I just wanted them out – I wanted these feelings gone…forever.
After praying for a while, I still had these feelings, but I wasn’t going to stop praying – then two things hit me:
1) Last summer I came to a realization that sometimes when I pray for things, God gives me an opportunity to make those things come true, not just shizam and there they are. (For example – if I were to pray for patience, I would end up leaving the house just in time for a traffic jam – so that I could practice my patience and therefore grow)
2) The root of the bitterness was embedded in unforgiveness. I was listening to a little clip yesterday by Joyce Meyer and she was talking about forgiveness. I kept saying yea, yea I know, forgive and you will be forgiven, give and it will be given, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, the measure you use will be used against you, etc. But then I stopped and realized I did not understand what was being said.
I felt like I was good at forgiving people because anybody that came and asked me for my forgiveness, I gave it openly and freely. Then I realized that by my standard, this meant that if somebody didn’t come up to me and ask, then I wouldn’t give. Then I realized that wow, I hope that I have asked everybody in the entire world that I have run into in my entire life for forgiveness when I have done something that has effected them on their standards in their situation. Ouch.
The problem that I was having was the fact that I couldn’t forgive unless somebody “humbled” themselves and asked for forgiveness. Well, I realized I was the one who needed some humbling. What if they don’t even know they hurt you? What if they don’t even realize that what they did was “wrong”? What if they don’t even realize that they need to ask you for forgiveness? They are just screwed?
This didn’t sit well. I was holding people to my standard, my idea of right and wrong, my idea of forgiveness. This meant that people could have the best intentions in the world, love more than anything, hug you every time they saw you because they aren’t able to not hug you every time they see you, and absolutely want forgiveness without even realizing they had done anything “wrong” (as was the case with my brother) and still not be forgiven. Why? Because they couldn’t see things my way, they were so stupid, offtrack, and just not with it (whatever that means) they couldn’t realize that what they were doing was wrong.
After a lot of prayer and thought, I realized that I was the one who was being so stupid, offtrack, and just not with it by assuming these things.
So, in God’s perfect timing (as always…*heavy dumbfounded exhale*), I listened to this clip yesterday and started thinking that maybe, just maybe, 1% chance I hadn’t forgiven my brother for everything he has done to me, which in retrospect are really silly things…I mean really silly – but the devil is good at convincing you otherwise.
Which led me to my prayer time today. I prayed and prayed for God to give me the strength to forgive my brother for everything that he had done to me, known and unknown. I prayed for the release of every bitter thought I had towards him, known and unknown, every jealous feeling I had towards him, known and unknown, and every negative moment I was holding on to, known and unknown.
When I came back to (finished my prayer), my bitterness towards him was gone. Completely gone.
You don’t have to buy in, you don’t have to believe me, it doesn’t matter because I am on cloud nine (thowso…sons). I hadn’t put forgiveness and bitterness together on this level before – probably some ignorance showing here, but that’s ok (check the title of the blog). So when I was praying for a release of bitterness (that I felt existed but did not understand why) – God gave me the opportunity to forgive. I never thought that would release my bitterness towards him completely. Heck, I didn’t even think I needed to forgive him for a lot of things. All I knew was that unless something changed in his life, and he was able to ask me for my forgiveness, nothing was going to change.
I am learning how to forgive others without them having to ask for forgiveness, and am so joyful. The other way around means the person has to know, realize, have intent (when they “wronged” me), all from my point of view – what a crazy thing to actually require (especially since my point of view is probably screwed up from having this requirement that it would just result in them having to submit a skewed viewpoint in order to be forgiven…just nuts).
God forgives us known and unknown, realized and not realized, intentional and unintentional – why shouldn’t I do the same?
I called my brother right afterward and told him that I had forgiven him for everything he has ever done to me, and then I had to get off the phone because I was starting to tear up from joy. He was probably left sitting there wondering what he had done that he needed to be forgiven for – well, I’ll just give you a couple of examples – remember that time, 14 years ago, when you gleeked on me when I was just about to beat the last level of DK? Or, remember that time when you were prideful (because I never am…oh…wait…)? Or, remember that time when you “accidentally” kicked that soccer ball at me in the 4th grade and I fell over?
Some silly, some that you don’t even realize were “wrong” (but they were because I thought they were), some that were unintentional, some that were probably intentional but you figured I’d gotten over it because most normal people would have in the matter of 15 seconds.
In any case – it doesn’t matter, none of it even matters anymore, because I am able to forgive without making sure the other person knows what they did or without the other person kind of owing me something because I forgave them.
Justin, thank you for accepting my forgiveness. Thank you for not getting frustrated as anything with my inability to forgive. Thank you for loving me, always, even when I haven’t forgiven you. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for being patient with me. Thank you for hugging me even when I still had some unknown bitterness inside of me. I love you.
To all of those reading this. If I have ever done anything that has hurt you or that I need to ask forgiveness for, please either talk to me about it, take this as a sincere, humble pleading for your forgiveness, or just forgive me – I think it might even do more for you than it does for me, and it’s going to do a lot for me.
Who do you need to forgive? Who needs to ask you for forgiveness? Who do you need to ask for forgiveness?
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