Today I want to talk to you about something that is really, really, difficult to do. Especially when you feel like you’ve been wronged or betrayed in some way. But if you can “just let that go” your life will be so much better!
President Gordan B. Hinckley once said “A spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of love and compassion toward those who may have wronged us is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us has need of this spirit. The whole world has need of it. The Lord taught it. He exemplified it as none other has exemplified it.”
I’m going to be real and share a story with you about my own experience with forgiveness. It is an experience that affected my life in a much larger way than it needed to and one that I’m not proud of. It took me nearly 15 years to forgive someone who I felt had wronged me in a deep and personal way. And sadly, it all happened because of gossip!
It involved a very dear and loved friend of mine. She was actually like a sister to me. We talked everyday on the phone, we were partners in a great “adventure”, and spent time with eachother’s families. We were nearly inseparable. She meant the world to me. But, sadly, I chose to walk away from her over something someone told me that she had been doing behind my back for years.
I was devastated! I was heartsick, but most of all I just felt betrayed. How could she do such a thing? But at the time puzzle pieces began to fall into place of why others had treated me in such a negative way. I was told she had twisted my words and turned them into lies so that others would think poorly of me. This person went so far as to give me specific experiences, people, places, and things that had happened. How could I not believe them? They had proof, or so it seemed. I immediately confronted her with it over the phone. She had no explanation. She denied it all, sobbing uncontrollably that she would never do such a thing. But it all made so much sense to me about the way I had been treated through our little joint “adventure”, that I didn’t even give her a chance. I was so hurt and so angry. So I did the worst thing anyone can ever do to someone they love. I walked away.
I cried for days over our lost friendship. And the lies grew easier to believe. Our adventure had ended and I moved on with my life. Or so I thought.
For years and years I would play the scene in my head. How could she hurt me that way? She was so dear to me. Why would she do it? She was my friend. How did I not see it? Night after night I would think of how much I missed her friendship. Over the years the pain faded but I would think about it often and would grieve again for the loss of such a dear friend.
Then years later, when I was returning to the fold of Christ I realized that it was time. Truth is, it was way past time. It was time for me to just let it all go. It was the only way to move forward and be free of the pain. So one night I mustered up all the courage in the world and I sent her a heartfelt plea to forgive me for not giving her the chance to explain. I told her how sorry I was. And that I was wrong for behaving the way that I did. And that I hoped someday she could forgive me for behaving in that way. It certainly was not Christlike. I told her how much I missed our friendship and that I hoped she was doing good. And then I pressed send, not expecting to hear anything in return.
When I hit that button I felt peace flood over me for the first time in all those years. No matter what had really happened I was no longer going to let it hold space in my life going forward. It is not God’s way to carry such feelings in our hearts. The only place that comes from is the adversary. He wants nothing more than for us to live with regrets, remorse, anger, and hurt. Because then, he wins. Don’t let him win! You may not be able to control other’s agency to act in the way that they do, but you can control your agency! Have the courage to use your agency to forgive and move on with your life. There are bright things awaiting you.
Do you want to know the craziest part of this whole experience. A couple of days later, I received a message back from my long lost friend. I was afraid to open it.
But I think her words are the best way to end this podcast. (I hope she won’t mind). The message read:
“I too am sorry for the way things ended up between us. I do apologize from the bottom of my heart for the heartache I caused you. I NEVER, EVER would have done anything to intentionally cause you harm or heartache. In fact to this day… I’m not even sure what the whole-what’s, when’s or how’s this situation all happened?!?! What I do know is we all made mistakes and then our friendship was over. It broke my heart too.
As for forgiving you…I pray you can forgive me of the heartache I caused you?! I am so deeply sorry! All I know is… life is too short to hold on to any grudges. We need to put our arms around each other and push forward. Just so you know… I’ve always held you in high regard and have always considered you my friend. Even though we’ve had this little “hiccup” I let it go along time ago. You will always be considered a friend and my heart and door are always open to you. ….There’s no need to ask for forgiveness or worry about this anymore. You have always been good in my book.”
How’s that for Christ like behavior?! She definitely is great women in the body of Christ! She taught me the true meaning of forgiveness that day. It’s all about love!
So today my invitation to you is to muster up the courage to use your agency to forgive someone that has hurt you. It may not end the way that mine did. But I promise you that if you will just let go, and let God take the wheel. It will bring a peace to your soul that can not be matched!
Have a great day my friends. Talk to you all again tomorrow!