“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
The hardest personal decision to make is forgiving someone for hurting us, either physically, mentally, or deep in our spirit. It is especially difficult showing mercy to those who commit the horrible and unthinkable–murder, abusing a child, abandonment, cruelty, or anyone victimizing another person in any sense.
The best way to empathize with someone is to walk in their shoes and imagine what they’ve gone through. To visit an abuser’s head is a scary thought, but maybe the things they have endured and experienced is even more horrific than we could imagine. It certainly does not excuse the behavior or save them from consequences, but it does remind us they are human and once were little babies and toddlers, first grader’s seeking praise, middle schoolers desperately craving guidance and direction, high schoolers that never fit in, adults who never fully develop and thrive, and so on.
I’ve made so many mistakes in my life. I once married the wrong person, the whole time stubbornly tuning out the instinctive voice telling me to run as fast as I could. I stole money out of Mom’s ‘mad money’ jar when I was in the seventh grade and felt so guilty that I skipped lunch and replaced it with my lunch money weeks before confessing. I once gossiped against a friend and blabbed a secret that was told to me in confidence. I have judged someone by their body language or by something I’ve heard about them. I have jumped to outlandish conclusions because I overthink everything. I’ve done and said things that I wish I could take back or do over, either done on purpose or unconsciously.
Because we all do things we regret, I think it’s important to try to forgive others, too. It’s never easy, especially if the wrong was a grievous offense from childhood like stolen innocence or a senseless cruelty. There isn’t a time frame, but as long as we are in the process of working toward forgiveness there is freedom because the offending act no longer holds any power.
In life, there are no do-overs. I can only ask forgiveness and learn from the mistakes I’ve made. In all my transgressions, there has been mercy–from God, my family, and friends. Receiving that forgiveness is a humbling gift. To be honest, the one I find the most difficult to grant mercy to is myself. I learn from my mistakes, but I tend to carry them with me as some sort of penance and I’m slow to let it go.
The concept of showing mercy is heart wrenching and it’s a personal journey on an individual timeline. There is a profound lesson in granting it, but there’s a priceless impact when receiving it.
Lovely post. The more a man knows, the more he forgives. (Confucius)
A lovely post .
Lovely post, and a thought inspired by calensariel “Without going out of my door, I can know things on earth, Without looking out of my window, I can know the ways of Heaven” George Harrison.
This is lovely. The world needs less judgement and more empathy and mercy. We’ve all made our share of mistakes but I understand what you mean – I tend to turn my own over in my mind as well.
Thank you. 🙂
What a touching post! We are taught to be critical and yet mercy and acceptance is so important. While I try to be really non-judgemental myself and accepting of others, I am much more wary when it comes to influences on my children and when they are not as well-equiped to defend themselves or know when to stay away. This, of course, can make me over-protective but that tends to be more in theory than in practice. It’s also important that they learn how to fly.
A lot to weigh up!
Thank you, Rowena.
It is very hard to forgive, especially if the offense was heinous, but the alternative is to carry around the weight of not forgiving. Great post.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting.
Very thought-proving post! It is said that we do forgiveness for ourselves, and I think this is so true, in forgiving there is a release of emotion tied to that event. Forgiving ourselves is just the first step, the rest is letting go, not letting our mistakes replay in our heads over and over on dark nights. We learn from our past, we grow, we try harder, we do better, we become happier, healthier, better people who make others happy too. The past is in the past, it is what we have learned from it that matters!
from Josie’s Journal
God is merciful towards us, more than we ever deserve, we in turn need to be merciful towards others and forgive them indeed. However, taking something from the Purpose Driven Life written by Rick Warren, we are to forgive but not necessarily forget the wrong doing that someone is asking for forgiveness for; people need to re-earn our trust in them. For instance, my daughter tried to kill herself one time (she didn’t succeed thankfully). I could forgive that act of hers when she asked for forgiveness, but that didn’t mean I should forget the action and something that took a long time for me to even consider trusting her again.
Thank you for stopping by to read and comment, Betty. I agree with you that forgetting takes a long time. I think it’s part of the whole process. Forgiveness is a very hard thing to achieve, and it takes a lot of prayer and changing in our spirit (I am no expert, that’s just my observation). I’m so sorry for the experience with your daughter. As a mother, I can only imagine the feelings, emotions, experiences you went through. What a painful experience for both of you. I appreciate your comment and perspective. Thank you so much.
good post and so true….I try not to judge…..I have learned from experience that life isn’t always what it looks like….thanks for the great reminder…..kat
Thank you, Kat. Dawn
This has always been a hard one for me, because i have always held onto a grudge, but I am trying, as I get older, to let go more and to forgive. Depending on the circumstances, some people are easier to forgive than others. Lord knows I have done my share of wrong in this world and yes we are all human. I even try to lie to myself sometimes, tell myself I am not holding a grudge, I just don’t need so and so in my life, etc. etc. My self is pretty smart though and usually sees through these lies,