I hardly ever listen to pop radio. As I have gotten closer to 40 years of age, I find myself gravitating toward talk radio. I am so becoming my mother- ahhh! However, the other day, it had cooled down a bit so I put down the windows and Sadie Grace and I jammed out to some hip songs that the young kids dig. I was completely shocked while totally inspired when I heard the line “Band-aids don’t fix bullet holes” from Taylor Swift’s song, Bad Blood. I am usually inspired by a scripture when it comes to writing, but this line goes perfectly with a Biblical truth and command I have been pondering over the last couple of weeks-- forgiveness.
I was recently prompted to write a blog on forgiveness. Primarily because this person thought that I struggle with it. Of course, when someone calls me out on something I immediately go on the defense and think, “I am not bitter” and “I totally forgive!” But, after the walls come down, I did start to ponder, “Have I truly forgiven this person? Do I struggle with unforgiveness?” The answer is ... YES, I have forgiven and ... YES, I struggle with forgiveness.
What I have realized about forgiveness is it is a process. I can honestly say that for years I have had to work through forgiving the people that have put bullet holes in me. And like Taylor Swift states in her song, I have put Band-aids on those holes but it doesn’t fix them. Every time another shot is made, that Band-aid is ripped off, and that wound is exposed. I feel the intense pain of the initial injury, then apply the Band-aid again. I'm not sure all wounds completely heal because in some situations shots continue to come. But, I will say that the time it takes to put the Band-aid is way faster for me these days. I used to hold on to my hurt and let it fester, but now I get mad, vent ask God to help me and move on. I am by no means a pro at the whole forgiveness thing but I am trying and it is hard.
I know without a doubt that forgiving is freeing. I’ll never forget the summer of 2014 I experienced an amazing moment of forgiveness. I will never forget it. When Meredith was on her death bed, an individual that was very close to me was angry and said the most horrific thing anyone can ever say to a mother whose child is dying. In so many words, she said it was my fault. I’m still shocked to this day that it was said to me. It took me a long time to recover from those words. Not that I ever believed that Meredith getting cancer and dying was my fault. But, when someone says that to you, it sticks. It was the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me, ever. Over the years, I have had to see this person. At first, I was repulsed by her--absolutely disgusted. I could not stand the sight of her. She was like a poison in my blood. I hated her. I was bitter. She haunted me. But, over time God began healing me, and I started to not feel repulsed or hatred-- just pity. Then, last year came, when the individual that wounded me so deeply was wounded herself, she cried on my shoulder. I stood there and felt nothing but compassion for her.
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
It was at that moment that my bullet hole was healed up. In a million years, I could not have ever believed that I could forgive this person. But, I had, not by my own accord but through Christ who lives in me.
If there is one thing that I know for a fact, is I will be hurt again. Maybe not as badly as before, but there are still people who are shooting things at me and just because I have forgiven before, doesn’t mean it is an immediate or easy response. As Corrie Ten Boom states above, sometimes I have to will myself to forgive by praying for God to “HELP ME” while other times it comes more easily. By no means does forgiveness mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing an offense. The process of forgiving can be slow and tedious, but it is worth it because with forgiveness comes a great reward--FREEDOM.