I get it. Believe me. All we really want is an apology. Some validation that, yes, indeed we were wronged. All anyone wants is for the person that hurt us to genuinely feel bad about it and tell us how sorry they are that they caused us pain, (and it wouldn’t hurt if they made some restitution while they were at it.) I’ve been stuck in that place; waiting for the apology, waiting for the reconciliation….only for it never to come. So what do you do? Steven Slater decided to, in his mother’s words, “have a small meltdown.” (Don’t you just love mother’s) He didn’t get the apology he was looking for when the women dropped a suitcase on his head so he cussed her out over the intercom, deployed the airplane shoot, grabbed some beers, and exited the plane. I have a lot to say about all that. But what is really on my heart today is what do we do when we never get the apology; when the person who wronged us walks away without consequence while we are left with the fall out. There was a time I kept waiting for AA’s steps 8 and 9 to happen. In Al Anon those were my favorite steps … yep, one day I was going to hear that list of all the wrongs that had been done to me. I’d receive my amends. I ‘d hear the I’m sorry. Finally I would be validated. Then I could move on, forgive, be at peace, put it all behind me. I am still waiting. It may never happen. So what to do? I have had dreams of cussing over an intercom, shouting to the the world all the injustices done to me, and then sliding off into the sunset . (I’d grab a nice Cabernet on the way out though) I guess it is why Steven Slater has such a following. We all are carrying around all the injustices that we have endured. All of the un-apologized for offenses are stuck in our back pocket, ready to be pulled out and relived. We all want to rant and rave and let everyone know how badly life has treated us. We are all struggling to forgive something. Huge, deep wounds like victims of abuse, or parents who have lost children to drunk drivers, or infidelity; and small wounds like an unkind word or … well I don’t have to list them, we’ve all experienced them. No matter how deep or shallow the wound, the principal is still the same. When we refuse to make the choice to forgive, we are the ones that suffer. Sadly we are only hurting ourselves when we hold on to the anger and bitterness. We will never be free from the pain and the injustice until we release the other person and forgive. As we let go of the grudges and the un forgiveness, we no longer define our life by how we’ve been hurt. I have found forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling; sometimes a minute by minute choice. I used to think that forgiveness meant I had to reconcile and stay in the relationship. Sometimes it does, but not always. I can forgive without reconciliation. I can forgive without tolerating the wrong doings and without remaining in a harmful situation. We all have things, big and small, that have caused us pain; and usually it has been caused by a person that needs your forgiveness. As you read this, who have you been thinking about? What wound was reopened and begun bleeding again through the scar? Forgiveness is for your healing. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the wrongs done to you are any less wrong or hurtful; it just means they no longer have the power to keep hurting you. So do what it takes to forgive. It will be the first step to healing. Oh yea, and sometimes the person you need to forgive is yourself.
”Biblical forgiveness means that the person who was wronged forfeits his/her personal right to punish the offender.” -Jeff West
Sorry, this quote on forgiveness was too funny not to post!
For more on forgiveness, read the Bible. It’s really what it’s all about.