My world at the moment consists of a lot of hate, trying to forgive and move on and be the bigger person. Plus, I’m trying to be strong, which is how I am and I don’t want to seem weak to certain people. It’s been almost a year since I started down this path and I’m sick of it. However…I’m not ready for forgiveness. Heck, I’m not ready for confronting the situation but I have to.
Confrontation sucks. There, I said it.
Even if I express my feelings, even if all is said and done and all parties move on, I still don’t know if I can forgive, I don’t know if I can be alright with things. I don’t know if I can be the bigger person. I don’t know if the hurt or hate will ever go away.
I don’t like the word hate. It’s too…I don’t know. I use it sparingly, though that’s how I’m feeling at the moment. And have been for quite some time.
Mom pointed out that Jesus didn’t hate. I laughed.
Me, the minister, laughed.
I think I replied something like, “Yeah, well, he wasn’t crazy about those Pharisee guys.” Seriously though, you can’t tell me that Jesus didn’t have people on his ‘Don’t like’ list. Ok, maybe Jesus didn’t hate but there probably were people he didn’t think too highly off.
Jesus was human and to me at least, he was not perfect. (Nor was he strong but that’s another blog/sermon.) I mean, he threw over tables in the Temple with the money changers because they were using a house of worship like a flea market. And you can’t tell me he wasn’t banging his head against the wall when the Disciples asked dumb questions, which they did…a lot.
I’m not trying to make light of Jesus’ image. This is how I see him. Jesus was human and I’m guessing he didn’t like some people. Jesus wasn’t perfect in my eyes. The Bible may sugar coat him, making him seem perfect, but he was human. Jesus bled and wept and had human emotions, including the ones about not liking people. It’s human nature.
However, Jesus also taught to be the bigger person, to turn the blind eye and move on. Grr…Do you have any idea how difficult that is?
The Apostle Paul told the church in Ephesus “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” and “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 26, 31-32) Good old Paul was preaching to a church that was divided and doing a lot of in-fighting however…
Pauly old chum, all of that is a lot easier said than done.
What Paul and Jesus don’t tell you is how long to forgive. Or maybe they do. I don’t remember. I grew up with the understanding that forgiveness doesn’t happen with a snap of a finger. It doesn’t just go poof and that’s it. It takes time and everyone is different. But the point is to forgive, to be the bigger person and move on. Sounds so flipping easy too.
Sometimes forgiveness is unreachable. Sometimes the best one can do is try to fix things and tolerate the person. Yes, tolerate. Because somewhere on that ladder in between hate and forgiveness, on the path to fixing things, is respect. And I’m not there yet either. And I honestly don’t know if I will ever be. But I can tolerate. Plus, respect goes both ways. You respect me, I’ll respect you. If it’s one sided, well… you get tolerate from me. I know it’s not the Christian thing to do, especially for a pastor, but it’s the best I can give of myself at the moment. I think Jesus, and even God for that matter, would be okay with me giving of my best because sometimes that’s all one can do. Forgiveness may be one sided. I’m hoping one day I can forgive, even if the other parties can not. Respect is a totally different animal.
I can clear the air and talk till I can’t see out of my eyes (because, you know, I’m crying so much), but that doesn’t mean I am able to forgive. And sadly, sometimes the people you love most are left sitting at the fringes of your life. It sucks and hurts and affects everyone around you. I am slow to forgive and respect once I’ve been wronged. I’m praying that I can confront the situation and at least be at peace on my end. I’ve done my part. And I’m hoping I can do more than simply tolerate. I’m hoping I can respect and forgive. If not, well…I’ve tried right? Jesus can’t fault me for trying.