forgiveness requires humility
by Barry Adkins
I clearly understand that everyone grieves differently and that there is no “silver bullet.” My purpose is not to tell anyone how to grieve, as that would be disrespectful, but rather to share things that have helped me along the way. My hope is that my thoughts might help others in some small way.
Forgiving those who have wronged us is not easy to do, especially when those that have wronged us have not asked for forgiveness. But forgive, we must.
Pause for a moment, if you will, and look around, you will see many people who harbor grudges for both real and perceived things that have been done to them. Holding this grudge does nothing to help them heal the wounds or get “closure” – whatever that is.
As I watch the news media cover horrible crimes I see interviews with family and friends full of anger and hate declaring they want “justice” for their loved one. Anger and hate that is completely understandable to be sure. But if that anger and hate does not transform into forgiveness and humility, it can and will destroy the lives of the family and friends. So the person that committed that horrible crime has added to his list of victims because not only has he destroyed a loved ones life, but he has also destroyed yours.
Without forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to become a victim and the world doesn’t need any more victims. Don’t allow yourself to become collateral damage. You will never be able to move on until you forgive. It is as simple as that.
The key to being able to forgive is humility, something that our society does not promote as an important personal trait, but many people of faith consider it to be a very important. Society and the media want us to be proud. How often do you hear someone being interviewed on the news say, “I made a mistake, I was wrong, I’m sorry” or “I forgive the man that murdered my loved one?”
Many of our social ills are tied to a lack of humility. We get offended and angry because someone cuts us off on the freeway or some jerk is rude and disrespectful to us. Next time something happens to you that has you upset, ask yourself, “am I being prideful here?” I know this may sound harsh, and it’s not meant to be but, get over yourself already!
My mom used to say, “forgive and forget.” I submit that there is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. You can forgive, but that doesn’t mean you forget.
In my case, my eighteen-year-old son, Kevin, died of alcohol poisoning on the day he moved out on his own. I have long since forgiven those that were at the party with him and of course, I can forgive my own child. But the hardest person of all to forgive is myself. As his dad, there has to be something I could have done differently to prevent this needless and all to common tragedy. In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking, I walked from Arizona to Montana with his ashes in my backpack, speaking at numerous schools along the way. Walking 1400 miles gives a man a lot of time to think. Somewhere on the open road between Arizona and Montana I found a way to forgive myself for “letting my child die.” Forgive I have, forget, I won’t.
The most important step you can take toward any healing process or “closure” is to forgive those responsible, even if they haven’t asked for your forgiveness.
With humility, comes the ability to forgive. Who do you need to forgive today?