Forgiving someone for a single infraction is a far easier task than forgiving someone for repeated issues. I should know. I have had a person in my life for over 20 years who is constantly and consistently hurting the people I love. I have been hurt by this person too, however, I am far more forgiving ( and forgetting) when it only involves myself. If I want to be realistic- I am just too busy to hold a grudge, retaliate, or actually take time to tackle the issue, whatever it may be.
When trying to deal with a difficult person, it is important to try to understand where their difficulty arises from. Why is it that seemingly good people change ( sometimes rather quickly) and become hurtful, spiteful and sometimes just rude? Has there been a tragedy, a situation or a life changing experience that has left a negative imprint on their heart? Is it the influence of a new friend or significant other? Maybe a medical issue or scare has the person totally frazzled, enough to put up a defense mechanism that turns into an offense.
I have, in recent years, tried to have a different perspective when it comes to people who make my life more bitter than sweet. I try to look for a reason for the issue at hand. Sometimes I get lucky and I can figure out the culprit very quickly. Sometimes I feel like I may go my entire life and never know the real reason why someone has so much hate in them that they would want to see the hurt on their loved ones faces after something they have said, posted online or otherwise. It frustrates me sometimes to the point of exhaustion. Worrying about it is another story entirely.
Worrying about my family and the hurt they have endured this year has been a lot for me to digest. Especially when I am fully aware there is not one thing I can do to fix this problem for any of us.
Then I remember that forgiveness is not optional, its mandatory.
Not only for the person I'm forgiving, but for my own personal life. Forgiving someone when they do something absurd is the only way to have closure on issues that befuddle me. By offering forgiveness to someone, I offer them Grace that they have never imagined. It doesn't take the anger, frustration or heartache away right away- those things take time. But it does provide me with closure and peace that I have done the right thing when others aren't willing to. And it provides my family an example of how to effectively deal with the issue of forgiveness when it seems someone doesn't deserve it at all.
We all feel like that sometimes, but we have to remember- we only get to live our life one time on this earth-we should do our very best to leave a legacy of forgiveness and compassion that others may never know.
Praying for those who consistently are a thorn, that they may be blessed with a rose.