As we head toward the Fall festivals, including Yom Kippur where we are to concentrate on forgiving and forgiveness, we might as well be honest: It's HARD to forgive some people! I personally have had a lot of trouble over the years forgiving my parents who gave me away at birth; and my mother who (when I was 9) unceremoniously jerked me out of my happy foster home away from the only parents I had ever known, and forced me to live in her unloving, self-centered home with her and her new American husband, a raving pedophile who sexually abused me for many years.
I also have a hard time forgiving some relatives who have said and done some horrific things to Bill and me and dumped us after we stopped supporting their ungodly ways and money-grubbing habits; and also some who pretty much shun us for reasons they’ve never bothered to disclose….
On one hand, I WANT to hold grudges against all these people because, in all honesty, their past ungodly or “chilly” behavior has had a very negative effect on our lives, and so they don’t deserve to have a relationship with us now. On the other hand, I feel sorry for them because they don’t know YHWH/Yeshua and I would take them all back in a heart-beat if they ever attempted to reconcile.
The only stipulation would be that they have turned their lives to God and stopped their sinful and/or hateful or arrogant behavior and desire to have a REAL relationship with no “strings attached” (i.e., don’t constantly have your hand out wanting us to help you financially or “do for” you ad nauseum, because that one-way street was CLOSED a long time ago!). I’m done with one-way “gimme, do for me” and lukewarm relationships where the “other side” shows no appreciation and makes absolutely NO effort to be in our lives in any way, except when they want something. Bill and I are not ogres! We will give you the proverbial “shirt off our backs,” but do NOT presume you have the right to make endless demands of various kinds, or have carte blanche to our bank account!
So, how to handle my feelings for the upcoming Yom Kippur? Well, the parents who hurt me are all dead and gone, and there’s nothing I can do except to let the memories of their evil deeds stop ruling my life. I “honor my mother and father” because I readily admit I’m here because of them and I’m grateful for that; but nothing says I have to have “loving memories” of them or anything else. What I do have to do is “forgive them in my heart,” and move on (Matthew 6:14-15 and 18:35; Mark 11:26).
Same thing goes for those who are still alive and have hurt us in one way or another. Yes, memories of times gone by still hurt, but I will not allow their “baggage” to destroy my present, nor hinder my relationship with God! I readily and wholeheartedly forgive everyone who has hurt me; I ask forgiveness for anyone I might have ever hurt in any way; and I pray that we may all one day reconcile. But if we can’t, then I wish you well and will keep turning you and your memory over to YHWH/Yeshua.
I recently read this wise saying somewhere: “Feelings are like plants. Don't water them and they wither away to dust. So too, let your grudges go without any pondering for a short while and one day you wake up and the feeling is all gone.”