Volume 48: Divine Intervention

Posted on 09/16/2010

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There is Power in Forgiveness

This past week on the 3 Degrees of Separation Talk Show, we discussed forgiveness. Well, we did more than just discuss forgiveness, we tried to dissect all the nuances of when, how, and why we forgive. During our discussion, I found it interesting to hear how many of us had father issues – and I’m not talking about the “he didn’t buy me the car I wanted for graduation” issues. I’m talking about issues of abuse, abandonment, neglect, etc. The issues that probably didn’t start with our fathers, and won’t end with us, if we are not careful. That’s where forgiveness comes into play. Why is it so hard to forgive a family member or a loved one versus a friend or co-worker? And, do we say we have forgiven someone because “it’s the Christian thing to do”? Does society send mixed messages regarding forgiveness because pop culture seems to enjoy the stories of revenge and vengeance more than redemption and forgiveness? We all know the cultural clichĂ©, “To err is human, but to forgive is divine.” Sometimes, for us to forgive those that have truly hurt us, we’re gonna need some Divine Intervention.

Losing One Game Twice

Life has been described as a game. Now, I don’t know if I’d call it a game per se; so let’s just say it has some game-like qualities. Anyway, if you didn’t know, my favorite game is football. One of the things my coach used to say after a tough loss is to not let this team beat us twice. What he meant by that is to not let this loss carry over to the next game and distract us from our next opponent. Virgina Tech this past weekend is a prime example. They lost an emotional game on Labor Day to a ranked opponent they expected to beat. After losing that game, they promptly go out the next week and lose to a school that no one on earth expected them to lose – including the team that beat them, LOL! But, they did. They did not put the previous defeat behind them and they let the emotional letdown linger too long. In essence, they let the first team beat them twice.

In our lives, we may have been disappointed by the treatment we received from a family member. In my case, it was my father. When situations of abandonment, abuse, or neglect happen at a young age, we tend to create internal dialogue I call emotional noise. That dialogue, or noise, is our interpretation of the reason for the abandonment, abuse, or neglect. We may believe that we are unworthy of being loved, or that we aren’t good enough. We internalize that dialogue until it is the driving force in everything we do. Some of us self sabotage – believing that we are not worthy of success. Some of us don’t connect emotionally – always avoiding the possibility of being hurt by someone again. Some of us overachieve – trying desperately to prove to others that we are worthy to be loved. Some of us do all three. Nevertheless, no matter what path we have taken, we have let the immature decisions of someone else alter the path of our life. In essence, we let them beat us twice.

Power of Forgiveness

The true power of forgiveness lies not with the person that is being forgiven; it lies in you doing the forgiving. It is you taking power and control back in your life. You are telling yourself that no longer will you allow the weaknesses of another override your strengths. When we truly forgive someone for their transgressions, it feels as if a weight is being lifted off you. Why? Because you have decided to lay down their shortcomings and the effect they have had on your life. How long can you carry their immaturity? How long can you carry their disrespect? How long will your emotional noise drown out the symphony in your soul? Your power comes when you absolve them of a debt that they have yet to repay. By doing that, in a sense, they become indebted to you. This is the basis of Christianity, so to speak. Christians are indebted to Jesus because he laid down his life so we can be absolved of our sins. In return, all he asks us to do is live good, decent lives, and treat each other with dignity and respect.

Conclusion

Knowing and living your truth means you have to listen for your emotional noise. You will know if it is there. Look at your life. Are you happy with yourself? Your relationship? Your career? Your life? Do you feel you are achieving all you can, or is something holding you back? I tell my wife all the time that most fears are learned. Who taught you to fear? When did you start listening to the noise? I write passionately about this subject because I let the noise my father gave me affect most of my life. It wasn’t until I forgave him that I began to break free. I realized that his shortcomings were ruining two lives: His and mine. I realized that as part of my truth. I also realized I had to lay down his burden on my life. My forgiving him wasn’t about his liberation. It was about mine.

That’s just my three cents…

Sill-E

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

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