I Choose Forgiveness
I feel that many times when the topic of bullying awareness is brought up, we talk about our experiences and how we overcame them. We tell students to “talk to an adult” about what’s going on and tell victims of bullying that what they are going through is not a reflection upon their self-worth.
It seems as if one of the most important parts of bullying awareness is rarely talked about – forgiveness!
Not Forgiving Gave the Bully More Power
Forgiveness is simple but yet complex. As a victim of bullying, I was never able to fully heal from my experiences until I learned and started practicing forgiveness. I have found out the hard way that not forgiving the mean girls did absolutely nothing positive for me, but instead gave them more power over me. Their actions from the past were affecting how I was moving forward into my future.
I did not become angry as some do when they withhold forgiveness, but I had guilt about holding onto a grudge. Both the past and current actions of my peers who were bullying me, seemed to hurt more and more every day. The following summer, when I had no contact with these individuals, the pain of not forgiving them continued to grow. Even when I wasn’t around the bullying, I was giving power to the mean girls over me by not forgiving them. I was giving them the response that they wanted me to have.
Forgiveness Takes Time
It took time to fully forgive those who have hurt me. Honestly, I am still forgiving some. You may be thinking, “Forgiving is good but what my bullies did to me was so bad I’m not sure if I can do it. Not everything is forgivable.” I have believed this lie and have taken this to heart.
I tend to subconsciously think that Christ died just for those who are morally good. The truth is – He didn’t. He died for that family member that I have a broken relationship with, my best friend that I love dearly, my friends, myself, AND those who have hurt me! If He can forgive all of those individual sins, then what is stopping me from forgiving the mean girls? Selfishly I think, if I can’t forgive my enemies, how could God ever forgive me? I’m really not any different from them.
Forgiveness Is Not...
Forgiving is not admitting that what your enemy did to you was okay, or that it did not hurt. It is simply not holding on to their actions anymore. Forgiving others does not mean you are obligated to become friends with them, and it does not give the other person permission to repeat their actions.
Forgiving is being in physical chains but having access to the key. The longer you wait to come out of the chains, they become heavier on your body and soul. The person who locked you in the chains does not feel the effect of the weight upon your body the way you do. When you find the courage to pick up the key and take the chains off, your body is instantly relieved.
Forgiving those who bully you does not guarantee that you will no longer be hurt by them but holding a grudge will absolutely do you no good. Most likely the person bullying you has been through the same thing themselves and takes their pain and uses it to hurt others. Those who have been hurt, tend to hurt others. As a part of bullying awareness, we need to talk about the power of forgiving the bullies because if we don’t forgive them, even if they did not seek forgiveness, what does that show about your character?
If you want to forgive the bully and you are not quite sure where to start, here are a few pointers:
- Start praying for your enemy.
- Try to find a positive trait about them.
- Start to compliment them. This will start to change your perspective of them.
- Remember that God forgives them.
Forgiving does not have to happen overnight, but if you want to change your emotional self, it does have to happen.
Lama Leah is a blogger, and supporter of the arts, social change, and God’s chosen people. Read more from her on her blog: Lama-Leah!
Tough relationships and people talking about “letting go” or telling you to forgive is hard. God can help you find the peace to forgive. Read more here.