What does it mean to you to be forgiving? It’s different for everyone. Over the last year, I’ve made mistakes in friendships. I’ve learned who had my back and who sat in judgment. As a religious person, I’ve always felt that only God has the right to judge anyone. I am not perfect. I have many flaws. My heart is in the right place even when I’m in the wrong. What I will not do is condemn others because of my belief. I know some who follow God’s law so intently that it comes across as their way is the only way.

Many different authors wrote the Bible. Various authors translated the writings that are in the old testament. What’s interesting to me is how some people view the Bible in their interpretation and present it as if they are the only ones who are correct. Faith and believing are a personal journey. If the only way to heaven were to believe so strictly in all the laws of the Bible, none of us would get there. By asking God to come into my life, I’ve always believed that he was open to welcoming me with open arms. After all, I don’t need validation from peers to walk with God. He walks that journey with me. Sometimes he’d like to make me see reason and not be so stubborn, and other times I feel he’s pleased that I’m trying my best to listen to him.

You don’t have to be religious to be forgiving. Religion is a label that is complex and confusing. Children understand this better than adults. If the rest of the world could operate like children, we’d have a lot less war and hate. Children do not see color. Adults teach them the differences. Children see each other and are more welcoming to others until taught that certain groups are more inferior than others. The bottom line is that no one is inferior to someone else. We are all born on this earth, and we will all die at some point. A person’s position in life doesn’t define them. Some people have positioned themselves with power while others are behind the scenes but make no mistake -each person on this earth makes a difference. We all can hurt others or help them. The choice is entirely up to us.

Years ago, my friend Ken went through a challenging point in his life. He fell for a woman who would change his life. She was a customer of his. They flirted off and on, and he confided in his former best friend on his emotions. This action was a mistake that no one foresaw coming. You see, his roommate and best friend told this woman that Ken was watching her from the street. He couldn’t do this because anyone who had been to that location knew that you couldn’t see the business from the road. We didn’t know what was happening. All we knew was that Ken was getting complaints at work from this woman about him bothering her and she never once complained or told him that he made her uncomfortable. His former best friend’s actions caused him to lose his job and ultimately leave many questions.

The exciting thing about this scenario is that several people knew that the woman and Ken were interested in one another. Instead of investigating what was happening, the bank believed the customer and fired Ken. Again, this woman never told him she wasn’t interested. It has taken Ken over a decade to get his life back because of the actions of another man who didn’t want him to be with the woman he wanted. Talk about a sick act that occurred. Ken forgave his former best friend, but it took him a very long time to find peace with the situation. Neither Ken nor this woman has gotten married since this happened. The woman in question has become engaged at least twice, and both relationships failed. She’s had addictions to contend with and has never found happiness, and she won’t until the two of them talk things through.

Ken learned that forgiving his former friend Mike had two advantages. The first was that he wasn’t carrying anger in his heart anymore. When we hold onto anger, we find that living life is more challenging because we are afraid to let someone else in. The second reason was that he recognized this woman had been led astray and was living in fear. Fear is something that we all have, and it isn’t easy to overcome. We’re all scared of the unknown at times, but it’s essential to recognize that if we don’t find ways to conquer that fear, fear wins.

What have I had to forgive? The biggest thing is me because I over-analyze everything in my life. I can’t help it because it’s the way my mind works. I’ve had to learn to accept my faults and not beat myself up for things when I’m so tired I can barely function. I have let fear win on too many occasions, and I’m tired of being scared and fearful of rejection. It’s okay to be different and put yourself out there because at least you can get answers to questions that may be bothering you. I decided years ago that affected my life, and I don’t regret making it because it was a decision that was right for me. That decision was not to settle. I didn’t want to settle for someone to be in a relationship. I wanted a crazy, passionate, unconditional love and healthy relationship. I craved a better professional life than the one I had, so I went back to school and picked up certifications, paving the way for me to continue learning about coding. By forgiving myself for not being perfect, I’ve begun to experience positive energy.

So the moral of today’s blog is simple. If someone has hurt you, try to forgive because carrying a grudge does not help in the long run. Be willing to admit your faults and stop throwing shade at others because it makes you look petty. I’ve had friends tell me that I seem at peace more now because I cut the cord on people who claimed they wanted me to be happy, but I knew they were not sincere in that wish. Many of them liked what I could do for them rather than my friendship. That was a harsh lesson to swallow, but I learned to forgive them over time. The important thing is that I did learn how to forgive. It is easier said than done sometimes, and there are always going to be people that make you question the ability to forgive, but once you do, the power that anger, bitterness, and grudges hold over you will subside. Have a great day, everyone.

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