I forgive you. Now excuse me while I file away what you just did so that I can bring it up at any random point of my choosing in the future.
When you grow up in a family that only speaks the language of conflict, it’s hard to acquire any other method of communication. I am an expert at remembering everything that anyone ever said or did to wrong or offend me.
Why? Survival of the fittest memory, people.
Scores are kept. Wrongs stored safely away. Like ammunition.
My husband noticed early on that I had a habit of not actually forgiving him. Instead, he said I “filed” things away to bring up later when it conveniently suited me. And as badly as I wanted him to be wrong, he wasn’t. So now I appropriately call this special breed of human with which I am all too familiar the “filers.”
With your storage locker of memory. Your arsenal of martyrdom. You know who you are.
Here is a quick breakdown of what filers are storing away in their massive memory box: Times. Locations. People involved. What was said (verbatim). Tones used. Facial expressions. Body language. The who, what, when, where, why, and how of it all. And last but not least, the repeat offense violation.
Because we all know that a repeat offense totally voids the aforementioned apology.
No wonder I was an emotional basket case. An alcoholic. An addict. Who has the time or room in their brain for all that? Especially those struggling with emotional problems.
Let. It. Go.
I cannot emphasize enough how not worth it those things are. Your inner peace is one of your most valuable commodities. Only you can give that real estate away.
I wish I could say I never file anymore, but I certainly do it far less. And why
does it matter? Because contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not actually about the offender. It’s about you. Your decision regarding what to do with the hurt. Will you wear it like a bad hairdo? Allow it to change you? Make you a different, lesser person?
Or will you release it, taking away it’s power? Reserve that priceless room in your life for the things that truly matter. Every time we choose to place one of these hurtful things in a file, the responsibility no longer lies with the offender. You are knowingly choosing to own the hurt. And darkness wins.
Imagine if Jesus functioned this way. You’re in church. The pastor stops, points at you, asks you to stand up, calls you out on that secret porn or gambling addiction. That massive debt. That former affair. That abortion you had at 18. That DWI. In front of everyone. Hello.
Instead, he set the standard. As far as the east is from the west. On the ocean floor. That is where our sins lie.
What forgiveness is supposed to look like.
It takes time. In some cases, depending on the severity of the wrong, it may take years. Consistently repeating to yourself and to God that even if your heart doesn’t feel it yet, you choose forgiveness. Day in and day out, forgiveness.
And with that decision, you choose the freedom that comes with it.