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FORGIVE

Forgive

“Forgiveness isn’t for the other person. It’s for you.” I rolled my eyes when I heard this belief. It seemed like letting the other party off the hook. I did not understand how forgiving someone who never apologized helped me. Then I lived more life. I realized MY anger makes My heart race, MY blood pressure rise and MY stomach turn in knots. Forgiveness brings peace and peace brings good health.

Now even with this enlightenment, I was still struggling not too long ago. I’ve realized that I learn lessons overtime, not all at once. For a month, I had Cardi B’s “Foreva” lyrics running through my mind towards someone close to me. I thought of this loved one as irresponsible and apathetic. I was thinking “f*ck you and its foreva” towards this person. I needed peace and wisdom. I opened the bible. Cardi B? The bible? I have layers.

I read Matthew 18: 21-35. Peter questions Jesus about how many times he should forgive someone. Jesus answers him with a parable about an unforgiving servant. A master showed compassion to a servant who owed him ten thousand talents. The master forgave the servant’s debt instead of enslaving him and his family until the money was paid. This same servant aggressively demanded that his servant pay back a hundred denarii. The servant begged for more time to pay the debt. The unforgiving servant was harsh and threw the servant in jail until the debt was paid.

The master caught wind of the unforgiving servant’s actions. He was angered by the servant’s lack of compassion and sent the unforgiving servant to be tortured until his debt was paid.

This parable taught me that I will make mistakes and I will genuinely want to be forgiven. It’s only fair that I forgive others for their actions.

I encourage you to think of forgiveness the same way. Now, I understand that there are levels to this. There’s a difference between forgiving someone for not paying you back some money versus forgiving a drunk driver for killing a loved one. Take your time.

Here are my tips for forgiveness:

1. Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant

· Be empathetic, if it were you in the wrong, you would want to be forgiven

2. Journal about the incident

· Be totally honest and vulnerable about the issue and how you feel

· Example: I feel angry. I am hurt. I feel left out or I feel taken advantaged of.

· Writing about the issue and the incident helps to organize your thoughts, determine what is the root of the issue and how it can be solved, if there’s a solution.

3. Speak to a therapist

· A third party who is unfamiliar with you and the other person involved can provide unbiased advice, honesty and a sensible solution

· If you can’t afford a therapist, try group therapy or a trustworthy friend

4. Speak with the person, if possible

· Remain calm, the important thing is to express yourself clearly so that you all can come to an understanding

· Use those famous “I” statements so that the other person does not feel attacked and become defensive

· Example: “I felt left out when you did not invite me. Tell me, why wasn’t I invited?”

· Actually, listen to what they have to say; don’t make assumptions or accusations just ask more questions if you don’t understand.

5. Set boundaries

· Decide and commit to how you will move forward with this person, if you all decide to move forward

· If you choose to sever the relationship, don’t initiate contact with this person, this means don’t be the first to text or call

o This does not mean you have to act like you don’t know the person if you randomly see them on the street (unless it was that bad), say “Hi” and keep it pushing.

· Decide how you will handle similar situations in the future and stick to your decision.

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