I dropped my card in the coffin on Thursday night.
It was an amazing moment for me personally as I forgave. It was also an amazing moment as I watched friends forgive. I watched husbands and wives who had held grudges for years against each other walk to the coffin hand in hand.
And as I watched the coffin full of past hurts and wrongs travel down the aisle, I felt relief. I felt freedom. I felt joy.
The person that I named on my card will probably never acknowledge that they wronged me. This was my hang-up. It was a strange mixture of emotions. One part of me wanted them to know they had hurt me. I wanted them to feel bad that they had caused me pain. Another part of me was afraid that if I forgave them, it would change the relationship as it is now. The hurts they caused were long in the past and I had pushed so many things deep down inside of me to make room for a “healthy” relationship. I was afraid of the conflict and desperately held on to what I thought was peace. I needed peace. I needed safety. I needed hope.
I decided before I came on Thursday night that I would put my card in the coffin. I didn’t want to, really. I mean, I did, but a big part of me was just so sure that nothing would change. I made a decision to trust. I trusted that this forgiveness was more about me and God than it was about me and the people who had wronged me. I trusted that I would be living as the aroma and ambassador of Christ and others would grow if I forgave. I trusted that the anger and bitterness inside of me would fade away when I forgave. I trusted that along with forgiveness would come the peace and safety and hope that I knew I so desperately needed.
All of that is true. 48 hours later and I am already experiencing new peace and hope. Even more than that, as I move into forgiveness now, I can heal. I can change the parts of me that have been shaped by the hurts I’ve experienced. I can untie the restraints that accompanied my unforgiveness. I can clear the vision that was so blurred, and even sometimes blinded by my scars. I can choose to walk forward toward a life of fullness.
If you were able to experience the past three weeks at one of our campuses or online, but still can’t take that final step and move forward in forgiveness. I get it. I have stood, frozen unable to decide whether I could do it; whether or not I needed to do it or honestly, even if I wanted to do it. It isn’t always easy. Actually, it’s more often than not painful and difficult, but it is so worth the journey. I hope that my story and the others you hear over the next few weeks as we experience the fullness of the forgiveness to which God calls us, will encourage us all to forgive.