Sunday, July 29, 2007

Forgiveness and Stuff

To err is human, to forgive divine- how very, very true! Forgiveness has certainly proved to be very hard for me lately.
I’ve been struggling for a while with trying to forgive someone for something that they did to me. In my life, many people have hurt me or done something bad to me. Some have asked for forgiveness and/or apologized, and others haven’t bothered to do either, but I’ve always managed to forgive them. Conversely, I’ve also been the one to mess up, and I’ve been lucky enough to receive forgiveness.
To make a very long story short, years ago a member of a church I used to attend was caught talking about me in a not-so-positive way. This person wasn’t just a church member, but an elder, and a well-respected one. I swam for my university swim team for two seasons, until an injury forced me to retire. During my first year away at school, I joined this church, but with a heavy competition schedule, I was away competing an average of three week-ends a month. Whenever I was able to, I attended the Sunday meeting. I couldn’t go to the “College and Careers” group because they met on a Friday night, and I had practice Friday night and then again at 5:30 am on Saturday mornings.
A group of people who know me (including some family members) met this particular elder at a conference, and when they heard which church he was from, they asked him if he knew me. This is when the man started on a long and rambling speech about how I was a lackluster Christian, that my attendance was shabby at best, that I hadn’t shown any willingness to socialize with the other people my age and that he really didn’t want to be bothered with someone like me, who would only semi-commit themselves to attending church. Apparently, he also made a face like he was sucking on lemon when my name was first mentioned. Keep in mind, this was coming from my grandmother, so I’m sure she was softening the blow.
I never went back to that church (those who read my testimony last summer will remember that I didn’t go ANYWHERE for a while afterwards). About a year later, I saw this man in the grocery store, and I hid in the next aisle over until he left. To this day I’m so humiliated by what he said. It may sound immature to say that he hurt my feelings, but he did. I still feel tears welling up when I think about it. It frustrates me that he thought that about me, but what frustrates me the most is that he (or anyone else) never asked why I was hardly around. Now that I’m older, I can look back on the situation with better perspective than I could when I was eighteen and I realize now that I should have spoken to someone and explained my absence, and that I truly was doing the best I could. I guess hindsight really is 20/20.
The entire situation shook my faith. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but it really did shake me. I think I’ve done a good job so far of recovering, but for the past month it’s really been weighing on me. No matter how hard I try, I can’t forgive this person. It’s been YEARS, and I still feel so much anger when I think about it. I have a strong feeling the Lord has been putting this desire in my heart to forgive, but I just CAN’T. I want to, but I can’t- it still stings.
So, that’s what’s been happening with me this past month.

I read Matthew 7:1-5 this week, and I think it serves as such a great reminder that we shouldn’t judge others.

Struggling with forgiveness….

Love In Christ-

*L

7 comments:

David Warren Fisher said...

Lauren-Mary:

It's sooooooo good to hear from you. Thanks for posting and for being so honest and transparent. I've really been struggling with forgiveness for a year and a half regarding some people in another ministry that I was involved in. I seem to get victory over the problem and then the hurt comes rushing back.

I'll be praying for you, dear friend. Are you going to post the same story on PILGRIM PALS? I think you should. Terry, Passing-thru and the rest of us really love you and want to walk with you through this.

Be encouraged today, dear one!

In His love,

David
The Pilgrim

David Warren Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hebrews 11:1 said...

Dear Lauren-Mary,

It IS so good to hear from you, and I appreciate your honesty in all your posts so much. I will pray for you. I would have been so mad if someone said something so mean-spirited about me, too.

Forgiveness is like an award at the end of a long road. We struggle towards it, always reaching out, stumbling along the way, crying for the Savior's help, and then wallowing in our sorrow. I've struggled with something and someone since I was about 9. And I can't say I've arrived. I keep gaining victories. I keep pressing on in the Lord's strength. I keep crying out to Him and praying for that person is my past. Lauren, have you prayed for him? It was easy at first for me to just pray, but it wasanother thing regarding what I prayed for this person for...like blessings from God. Oh, that was hard to sk for for this person! By God's grace alone, I did it, and what joy I felt. I feel like I've turned the corner. I still think of him as a person I never want to see again, but I know through God's help, I'll conquer that, too.

And know through His help, you'll pull through this, too, Lauren-Mary. I'll be praying for you.

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Eph, 6:10)

Lil Pilgrim Pal

Julie (aka Little Missionary) said...

Lauren, oh how I can relate to your story - you know that don't you? I too am struggling with forgiving authority figures in my former church and the senior pastor hasn't even asked my friends where I've gone. I spent 7 years there and wasn't exactly in the background. Forgiveness - it's so hard when other Christians are involved.

I hope you are looking for a new church.

Julie

LauraMae said...

You Posted!!!

Terry said...

What a nightmare that must of been Lauren-mary seeing that man in the gorocery store and having to hide with a quivering afraid heart.
You know that man is walking on thin ice because God says woe to anyone that will hurt one of of his little ones.
I hope that the man is really saved and if he was how can he be acting like that?
I think the best thing to do is pray for him!

I haven't been here for a week and a half Lauren-mary because of a few trials. I am sorry that I didn't even come to say hi or anything.
I am so glad that David told you to post this on Pilgrim Pals.
Pilgrim Pals is like popping home for a while, to see how how everyone is doing.
When I emailed you last night, I really did mean it that I missed you.
I hope by the end of this week that I will be able to visit the different pals om their own site but until them I am so thankful to God that David Fisher has made the oasis for us at Pilgrim pals...Love Terry

Vicki said...

Hello sweet Lauren-Mary,

Your post spoke to my heart and reminded me that maybe I've not really forgiven my one particular sister who spewed some hateful remarks awhile back. I'm reminded that forgiveness is a choice we make to free ourselves from bitterness, but that God can surely be trusted to change our emotions about it once we submit to Him. Forgiveness is tough. We absolutely need His Spirit operating in us to do it.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm kinda new at Pilgrim Pals and wanted to visit and say hello. I'll be praying for your situation. That was so unkind, unfair and uncalled for (the elder's talking about you). It just goes to show you, we are to be careful not to judge others by mere "appearances," because we don't really know what's behind an action. Sounds like a bit of legalism to me, and you were understandably hurt. {{hugs}}

May the Lord give you grace to forgive, and also heal your heart wounds (and mine). You are precious in His sight and He totally understands.