Considering those years long ago when grade-school relationships were hard and capricious, I wonder at the differing abilities we each employ to cope with hurtful ways people treat us, and one another. Some laugh off the taunts of others, ignore them, or serve back a bucket full of the same. Others become insecure, even depressive, stuffing down deep emotional wounds, unsure what to do with them. No matter our age, purposeful or accidental offenses occur.
And what of physical injuries? Did those two hits to my head one afternoon goof up my brain somehow? Softball hitting one eye, hardball hitting the other? Evidence shows even such apparent mild trauma can have resulting effect as to how the brain physically functions. Who knows? For various reasons we react and respond to life in the ways we do, many factors impacting us.
It took many years before I realized I had been a victim of bullying in school. Only in adulthood did the understanding dawn, and many pieces fall into place regarding my insecurities and sensitivities. Of course, some I have to claim as just unique to me; others were fostered from people in my environment. Forgiveness has been a huge factor in my healing process. At our ten year high school reunion, one of my primary bullying friends sought me out and asked to be forgiven. She had come to faith and seemed genuinely sorry for the hurts she had caused. I was thankful to be able to hug her and say, “I forgave you years ago!”
So good is God to be working in our wounded hearts if we let Him. For even though remembrance of an offense remains, the process of forgiveness frees one of lingering anger and bitterness that if left to fester would prolong the repetitive cycle of hurt in ourselves. I am so glad to have been well into the forgiveness process when my childhood friend came to me. As others also expressed remorse, forgiveness was easily granted.
I have been forgiven so much in my life, being ultimately forgiven by my LORD. Surely it is a joy to extend that grace to others, freeing myself from the burden of resentment and hurt. Yes, it has been a process in every instance, but worth each step. It is a win-win all in all, for the person forgiving, and for the forgiven.