Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forgive for Your Own Good!

Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

When I was about 9, my parents moved us to a new neighborhood.  I have many pleasant memories living on that street.  However, one not so great memory stands out as well.  

My stepmother found two brothers down the street who were in my age group and she encouraged me to go down and introduce myself so we could become friends and play together.  I put on my best 'United Nations of Friendship' hat as a "Diplomat from the East End" of the street and marched with the best of intentions westward to introduce myself to my new friends.  

Their father came to the door with one of them.  What he said next was not what I expected!  He said, "Hi Chris, this is my son John.  Hey, I have an idea, why don't we see which one of you can punch the other one in the nose faster to make him bleed."  I'm not kidding.  He literally said this.  I was still processing, being the introvert that I am, when all of sudden I heard a "POP" and then noticed my nose was bleeding.  I was too slow apparently.  John won the game.  Kindly, perhaps realizing his ineptitude, John's father invited me in and gave me a paper towel to soak up the blood.  John and I became fast friends.  His dad and I...not so much!  

The event I just described happened in probably 1982 over 30 years ago.  Clearly I still remember the shocking event.  However, what has changed on the inside is that I have forgiven the father for what he did.  Moreover, I don't blame John because while I didn't appreciate him making my nose bleed I know he was just a child following instructions from his dad.  

I realized over the years, however, that I could not harbor resentment against his father.  People often confuse forgiveness with surrendering and agreeing that the egregious action taken was actually ok.  That is NOT what forgiveness is about.  Forgiveness is a choice to free oneself from the shackles of resentment and bitterness that often are created because of the painful experience one has with an offending party.  Choosing to forgive the offender is not supporting the behavior or dismissing it rather it is merely a choice not to relive the pain, anger, resentment, and bitterness over and over again with no prospect for peace and resolution.  

Do you have someone you need to forgive?  Are there grievances you have that, while legitimate, are eating you up on the inside?  Isn't it time to let it go and free yourself on the inside?  The reality is the person(s) that you are unwilling to forgive are most likely living their lives and not caring about your feelings or what they did to you.  Sad to say, but it's most likely true.  Maybe it's time not to rent out any more space in your head or your heart to them.  Give it a try.  See how you feel.  I bet you'll like it!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs.  We encourage people to get clean on the inside not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  This includes the important work of forgiveness.  Recovery from addiction is a multifaceted journey.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

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