Who have I not forgiven? I wrote this down, and as I considered, there was one particular person I knew I was carrying a fresh and violent anger towards–with good reason. Their face loomed in my mind because it often invaded my thoughts and kept me from sleep. There were other people in mind that I considered “passively” not forgiven and these were people who’d deeply hurt me in the past. Time had passed and I’d “gotten over it.” Sometimes, however, something would trigger memories of how unfair or hurtful their actions were and I’d be in turmoil again until I relented to “giving it to God.” That was all I could think of, at first. But then I thought of “minor” offenders, minor because I thought about their offenses less, and didn’t recognize that I needed to make a choice about forgiving them. Finally, I thought of slavery, racism and society at large.
|People who have physically/psychologically /emotionally hurt YOU and/or the people you love and care for.|
|Parental Relationships/Family/Authority Figures: Past hurts: major and minor. Things said or not said, done or not done.|
|Smaller/minor offenses—individuals/family members/friends/associates/co-workers who have recently behaved in ways that are upsetting/inconsiderate.|
|Societal offenders—people whose personal or political ideologies and/or actions are or have been devastating to others.|
That day in February, I scoured my mind for hurt and unforgiveness. Then I wrote how each person had offended and briefly described (in a few words) the hurt they caused and why it was hard or even impossible to forgive them. Consider making your own list. You can use these categories as a starting point.
- You’ll list the people you haven’t yet made a choice to forgive because you thought it was something you could get over.
- Or the people whose past actions still hurt or disrupt your current peace.
- You’ll list the people you think you’ll never forgive. Warning: Making this list is upsetting for sure, but necessary. ***You have a right to be angry. You have a right to protect yourself. You have the right to let anger move through you. You have a right to let it out of your body and spirit so it doesn’t take up deadly residence as unforgiveness. (Featured painting copyrighted by Dr Suresh Ega)