Soul Food: Forgiveness
stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
I have been fascinated by quicksand since the first movie that I saw where someone was sucked into a pit of quicksand. Just the very thought that the ground could suddenly entrap my feet and hold me captive terrified me. And most terrifying of all, any struggle or movement to get free would only sink you deeper and deeper.
Quicksand is real. And just in case you get trapped in quicksand, you should know that your doom is not imminent. You can escape from quicksand if you know how. The key is - DON'T STRUGGLE.
That is correct. If you just relax, you will "float" to the top of the sand. And once you are on top, you can just roll onto solid land.
If you are human and living in contact with other people, you will surely face an offense. Someone (even your BFF) will eventually say or do something that makes you angry or hurts you.
There are also times when you will look at humanity in total horror as they commit unfathomable acts. Today, I saw a news story about a woman who allowed her 19-month old child to die in a bed of vomit, feces, and urine. I don't know about you, but that makes me ANGRY.
And if that is not enough, eventually we do ourselves end by blowing it (i.e. making a mistake). We say something that we regret. We make a bad decision. We unintentionally hurt someone that we love. Now, we are angry at ourselves for not doing better.
Over and over again, we cycle through situations that hurt and anger us. If we fail to deal with this anger right away, it builds into resentment. In other words, we become "self-righteous" and bitter. The story that we tell ourselves is "This is not fair! Life is not fair! People are ridiculous! I am ridiculous!"
This narrative is much like our friend quicksand. Our protests do not seem at first to be harmful. We justify that we have our "reasons" to be angry. So we hold the anger and stand on our "story." What we don't realize is that if we stay stuck there, we will slowly begin to sink. In other words, we get deeper into the story we are telling ourselves. "People are stupid. Life is terrible. I am an idiot."
This narrative in your head leads to some very uncomfortable feelings. You will probably experience the "struggle" through symptoms like angry outbursts, impatience, withdrawal, bad habits (coping mechanisms), and self-loathing. Struggling this way only sinks you deeper into your anger. It begins entrapping you - sticking to everything that you do, everything you say, and every decision that you make.
If you are not careful, this quicksand will engulf you. You don't physically die. What dies is your joy, your peace, your love, your hope, and your self-worth. If you keep going, there will be nothing left - you will sink into the quicksand of anger never to be seen again.
But there is another way. Anger is a real emotion. And despite what our culture might tell you, there is nothing inherently "bad" about anger. In certain situations, anger is justified and expected.
What matters most is that you are able to process your anger and FORGIVE.
Forgiving is NOT about forgetting or erasing your memory. Forgiveness is about letting go of the anger - releasing it.
Here are a couple of resources to help you understand the purpose and power of forgiveness so that you can walk out your journey to freedom.
If you have not watched this documentary on Forgiveness, I encourage you to schedule some time now to watch out. It will help you to understand the POWER of forgiveness.
And one of my favorite resources for helping you walk through the journey to forgiveness, I highly recommend Iyanla Vanzant's "21 Days to Forgive Everybody for Everything."
Today, I want to encourage you to stop struggling, float to the top, and roll out of the quicksand onto solid ground. And from that solid ground, you will discover a freedom and peace you have never experienced before.
I don't have all of the answers. I am still on this journey myself. But I can tell you that starting this journey has changed my life - for the better. And for that, I am grateful.
You don't have to stay angry. You don't have to stay stuck. You can break free. I believe that for you.
Do yourself a favor and believe that for yourself.
Forgive. Love. Freedom.