One of the hardest things I've every had to reconcile with, being a Christian, is the act of true forgiveness. As a Southern Baptist my original line of thinking was very easy to reconcile -- eye for a eye. If there is one thing that Southern Baptist do well, it's an ingrained sense of not revenge so much as almost a belief in karma. "Just wait, God'll sort them out."
The idea was more waiting for God to take out his big stick rather than true and honest forgiveness. I used to take it a step further. More in line with William Blake's poem which haunts me to this day:
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine -
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.
That is certainly not what Christ teaches nor in anyway the way we are supposed to react when people hurt us. We know it, we just accept this sin and go on. We continue to take this hate (READ: Degree of Murder) and root for our Lord to send forth a well aimed lightning bolt at worst. At best, we hope that our intended victim realize the hurt and pain they are inflicting. The answer is, that's their burden and what they will have to answer to; and it likely won't be in this life. They likely know it is wrong and hurtful; at the very least they don't care at worst, they want to hurt you. What we are called to do is forgive -- really forgive.
The image attached to this posting is from an old high school friend of mine that has obviously been hurt. And the analogy of the image hits really close to home for a lot of us. However, we as Christians cannot expect our God to then go through the cabinet find the offending dish and break it to bits. That's not us! We as true Catholic Christians need to accept our cross, forgive whoever broke our hears, and pray daily that Jesus Christ is a talented super glue user as well as carpenter. Okay so my analogy breaks a little but I think you see where I am going. We are taught that God is LOVE not a lurking karma bully.
Trust in God. REALLY trust in him. To forgive is to leave yourself vulnerable. To be vulnerable and get hurt, AGAIN is very possible. No one likes to be hurt, much less opening themselves up for the pain again and again; often to suffer in silence. Pray for that strength. Pray thanks for that hurt. Then take that pain, betrayal, anguished heart, and give it to His glory! Personally, I have a lot of personal baggage that I need to do this with -- a lifetime of accumulated baggage. It is NOT easy, and it takes a long time getting there. I too have a ways to go but to see how I've transformed over just the last year. It's truly a miracle of Grace.
Whereas I can forgive, my biggest problem is actually giving it to God and NOT reacting. It's a reflex. I'm a doer and when I was younger I was very proactive in my hurt distribution. I'm sure we all have and one continuous painful hurt that it will takes years of discipline and prayer to overcome. I've come to a place in my life where I can forgive, and trust in God to give me the strength to endure. I may never reach the place I don't "hate" in return. But I trust that through the power of Jesus Christ I can keep trying.
Take a moment to thank God for the cross he's given you, prayer for those who are hurting you then really, really, try to let it go. You'll be very glad you did, and as always if you need a little extra help. I will pray for you too.