Saturday, March 12, 2016

#4: Forgiveness

I feel like God has been at work in my heart lately. It’s just been the hardest process but at the same time it’s been the most eye-opening as well. Lately I guess I just have been learning so much about myself that I otherwise would have been unaware of…and as much as it may hurt sometimes to see what you don’t want to see in yourself, I am grateful for everything He has done and is doing in my life.
I don’t know about you, but I am the type of person who loves to say sorry. I know that is probably pretty weird, but I do say sorry all the time. Instead of saying “excuse me” I tend to just say “sorry”. I guess it’s a habit of mine.
A weird example would be, when my friend and I were heading out to lunch, she just realised that she had left her phone in my room. And so we had to walk in again–yet I said “oh, sorry.” She just laughed at how silly I was.
But what I also realise is that I tend to say sorry when I don’t need to–yet when I do, I don’t.
I have some friends, of course we have had our share of fights. Yet we always patch things up, and we never hold grudges against each other–and all this is done without us apologising to each other. We just know that each has forgiven and so we just get on with our lives like nothing happened. It’s just really awkward to apologise “formally”–we would very much rather sweep things aside and get on with our lives, instead of shake each other’s hands or hug things out.
Being the last child, also probably has affected my personality, in a way that I am the type who prefers to avoid conflict completely, rather than trudge forward, head first. “Peacemaker” they say, and yeah I guess you can call me that cause really, I would very much rather bottle things up than confront people–cause I really am not one who is assertive or blunt.
And because I prefer to avoid conflict and confrontations and apologies altogether–I would always say that I have forgiven and that I don’t hold grudges, so that we can all just get on with our lives. Yet what I recently understood of myself is that, this is not always true.
Recently I’ve had life be good tough on me. I don’t know about you, but I am a feeler. (Not the kind of feelers that are at the top of an insect’s head, but in a sense that I tend to feel a lot.) 
Being a feeler yet avoider of conflict, I just bottled everything up. And I kept my head held high and I went on with life, allowing people to only see the giddy, bubbly side of me. The always-happy and grateful girl.
But in my heart I knew I was hurt. In my heart I knew I was mad. But I just couldn’t help it. Human emotions got the better of me.
So one night, I ranted and vented it all out. And long story short, it got to the ears of the person whom I spoke of.
And knowing that the person was hurt from hearing what I said, I told myself to be the bigger person and apologise. So I did.
I told the person that my intent was not to gossip or to ruin their reputation. I was just hurt and I needed my cry to be heard. I needed someone to understand and I needed some sort of comfort. I said that I didn’t want to justify what I did, but I expected the person to understand where I was coming from and just how I felt.
Yet after the conversation, I was all the more upset. I was all the more hurt and I was all the more outraged. I didn’t feel understood at all, and I thought that it all was pointless, so I decided not to reply, fearing that I would say the wrong thing and not be able to take it back.
Have you ever felt that someone has wronged you–and you feel that you’re right and that person’s just plain wrong? You are convinced that you’ve done the right thing, especially cause you know your own intentions–and so you justify your actions cause your intent was not to harm. So you expect to be understood. Have you?
If you are honest (and I hope you are), you would probably be nodding by now because I do believe that at some point in life, people will feel hurt. And in other times, people will inflict the hurt.
Yet as human beings we tend to want to be acknowledged when we are hurting, yet never want to admit it when we are the ones who hurt someone else. If we do, we make ourselves feel better by saying “that is not my intention to do so.”
But on the night of Silent Day what I realised was, when we say “I don’t mean to justify, but this is how I feel…” we are as a matter of fact justifying our actions. When we want to voice out to people how we feel when we are in the wrong, we are actually trying to make ourselves feel better by expecting to be understood–and not fully admit to what we have done.
I always said that I never held grudges, that I was forgiving, and that I was fine. But bottling things up and acting like everything was fine does not mean that I have in fact, truly forgiven.
And that night, having God show me that I was as a matter of fact justifying myself by pointing out my hurt and expecting to be understood–made me realise that I did so, because I expected an apology.
And the thing is, when you are expecting an apology, it means that you have not forgiven.
And knowing that I have not forgiven, made me realise that, though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, my reaction towards the hurt I felt, hurt someone else.
That was bitterness right there. Reacting to hurt by hurting someone else. And I never thought I’d have the courage to say that. But yes, I do realise, that right then I was, in fact, bitter.