Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I have a lot of people on my hate list, to be honest, and some for no really good reason. God (and others) has been calling me out on some stuff, actually, and I’m going to start listening. For example, I preach all about tolerance and acceptance, when I’m not really sure how accepting I really am. I lug around huge bags of unforgiveness–against previous bullies, teachers, and even loved ones. I just hate so much. And, if I let it, the hate creeps into how I see people different from me. Rarely do I act out my hatred; rather, I let it fester and churn inside me until I become hardened.
The one person I hold the biggest grudge against is, in fact, myself. I tend to fling blame at myself readily and easily. Memories of stupid things I said in fifth grade frequently surface in my mind, causing me to become angry and anxious. I have a hard time letting go of these memories–one, because they seem to come bobbing to the top of my thoughts at the most unexpected times, and two, because I have a really weird need to cling to the painful past. I think it provides me with a sense of self. It provides an escape from current problems, just a way out, a distraction. It makes me feel valid, like I matter, which I think stems from a deep belief that my struggles are the only things that make me important.
Anyway, I’m working on forgiveness. And although it may not seem apparent, I’ve certainly made improvement since September. Many of you may remember my frequent blogs about my “love intolerance”, or inability to receive love or attention correctly because I felt so incredibly inadequate. I feel much less of that now. I can accept that people care about me. I don’t lie awake at night secretly believing that everyone is talking about me, that everyone is out to get me, that secretly I’m hated. It’s not like I never struggle with those thoughts anymore, but I’ve gotten control over them, mostly with God’s help. Sinking into His unconditional love has helped me receive love from other people. And I think that’s pretty awesome. Hopefully, using that same approach, I can trot further down the road of forgiveness.