When Bad things happen…
When bad things happen in our lives,for which we have to pay the price, we often spend a lot of time wondering what went wrong. We may choose the wrong job, choose the wrong city, choose the wrong mate, choose to walk away too soon or make a bad business decision. When we go over the accounts of who said what and who did what, some tend to have a whole list of infractions that we can rehearse about what the other party did. However, when focusing on our own actions, we have a hard time admitting that we had any responsibility. Or we briefly say something like “I know what I did was wrong, but what they did was worse.”
How do we justify it? Who’s to blame?
Some justify the actions of others because they think somehow they deserved whatever ill-treatment they received because of infractions on their own parts. You may hear things like “I was stupid, smart-mouthed, immature, fresh, a know-it-all, etc, so that’s why they treated me like that.”
We are taught that there must always be someone to blame. It’s either their fault or yours. Someone is at fault, and that someone deserves some kind of punishment for their actions. We are a nation that believes in Capital Punishment. We are a world that believes in an eye for an eye. We go to war over minor issues, despite being fully aware of how long it takes to get out of one and how many lives will be lost. Humans don’t seem to care about the cost of being fearful, hateful, and unforgiving, we want to place blame and we want someone to pay when things don’t go the way we think they should.
Suppose there was no blame. Suppose everything that has happened has a purpose. I don’t mean to say that there is not room to make better choices because there is. More informed choices can always be made. However, all the things that happen to us can be used for us. Even better still many of the things that happen to us are not even happening to us, they are happening for us. No matter what we say, what we do, what we think, it can and is working in our favor if we notice it. Everything that someone has done to us, has said to us, or thinks of us is working in our favor if we would just take note of it.
Are we forever wronged because things we wrong?
The reasons we can’t let go of our constant rehearsals of what has occurred is because we think we are irreparably broken. We can’t forgive others because we think what happened cannot be fixed. We can’t forgive ourselves because we think we are no longer the same. We think if we were sexually abused that we are ruined and damaged. Someone destroyed us, so now we are forever changed. Never to be the same. We don’t forgive ourselves for being damaged. We won’t forgive ourselves for trusting someone we thought we could trust. We can’t forgive the other person because then we’d be saying we were at fault. We cannot accept their mistakes because they broke us. They changed us. We are different now, and it’s all their fault. We have a stain or a label of being abused, being a single mother, being divorced, being fired, being evicted, being ridiculed,or being a fool. We cannot forgive them for making us this way, and we cannot forgive ourselves for being who we are now.
Who are you now?
Who you are right now is who you are. You are still you. Actually you are a better you. You have learned somethings, if you accept the lessons. Since you’ve learned it, now you can teach it. You aren’t damaged and forever changed. You’ve had an experience that you cannot reverse, yes, but that’s called living. Your dreams are still yours, don’t toss them aside. Your principles are still yours, even if you strayed away from them for a while. The things you were proud of you can still be proud of. The things you love about yourself you can still love. Your pleasures are still yours to enjoy. Your wisdom is still gaining. You are still you.
A metaphor to think about…
I had a dining room table that I bought new with a few nicks on it. We used it for all our family dinners, celebrations, projects, and talks. I had about three moves and it got a few more dings and scratches. Each time we used it as a table and appreciated it evermore for its strength in holding up. We lost the leaf that went to it, but we still used it and loved it. I eventually put it up for sale on Craigslist. I had a few people mention that it was a deal breaker to buy it because the leaf was gone, but within days someone came along and bought it and they were thankful for it. It was a great table and they recognized it. If the other potential buyers didn’t recognize it, it was because it didn’t fit their idea of what they needed in a table. Just because it didn’t suit them, that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a table. A few dings can’t change the nature of what it was created to be.
The same with you. No life experience can change the nature of what you were designed to be. Go ahead and forgive people for their words, their deeds, and their thoughts. Look yourself in your own eyes (in the mirror) and forgive yourself. Affirm who you really are when you view yourself. You are still who God created you to be, and you can still accomplish everything you are meant to accomplish. You can still enjoy everything you are meant to enjoy, you can still give everything you are meant to give, so go ahead and forgive yourself. You are not forever damaged, you are forever you.