Forgiveness. Such a difficult concept and idea, but one that holds so much power. We've all been hurt by someone, and in the same way we've all hurt someone. And when we're hurt our natural instinct is to be angry, cry, or retaliate. And where does that get us? Absolutely no where. In fact, it's in those moments when we're most hurt that we cause the most damage.
We were hurt, so we want that person that hurt us to hurt as well. And even as an educator, it's not always the other adults in our lives that hurt us....sometimes it's our students! But when we hold grudges and when we hold onto that hurt we're doing no good for anyone.
Holding onto pain only allows things to get worse. Even though sometimes it is beyond comprehension, I truly believe that the greatest power we hold is the power to forgive someone. The power to tell someone, "You hurt me, but I'm going to CHOOSE to forgive you". It doesn't mean we have to forget what happened, but it means that we're not going to let that pain that we were caused control our actions.
And yes, forgiveness is a choice, but for me it's one of those extremely difficult choices. In the same vain I know that I have hurt others in my life. And when those people I've hurt have forgiven me and allowed our relationship to rebuild, it's powerful. And you know what? Sometimes I've hurt someone or been hurt so bad, that even after forgiving them or being forgiven, the relationship cannot be rebuilt, and that's just a consequence of the actions that took place.
Every single one of us makes mistakes. That's not any kind of excuse for poor choices or poor behavior, but I say it to remind each of us that how dare we choose NOT to forgive someone. When did we become the perfect person who never makes a mistake? I know that I continually make mistakes and do things I regret. But I also know that I am not the person to judge someone else. I am not perfect.
And even in writing this post, I know there are still some people in my life that I need to forgive for hurting me. I also know there are people in my life that I need to go and ask forgiveness from, because I know I hurt them. And it's difficult.....but it's necessary.
Even as an educator we have to forgive daily. Our students make all kinds of mistakes and it's our job to start each day brand new with each of our students. I don't ever listen to the stories of my students from their teacher from the year before. I don't want to be judged on my past mistakes, and so I am going to choose not to judge my students and to allow them a fresh start when they come into my class, and my students know that, and I think it makes all the difference.
So I write this post to encourage you to forgive someone who has hurt you, or even more so seek out someone you know you've hurt and ask them for forgiveness. It's so very hard, but forgiving someone can heal so much pain. I also encourage you, if you feel so lead, to share your story below. Your story of you forgiving someone or having to ask forgiveness.
Written and Performed by Matthew West