Learning to Forgive

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One of my favorite quotes is an old French Proverb. “To know all is to forgive all.” A friend recited this to me four years ago and it has never left my heart. In every circumstance it starts ringing through my ears.

What does this saying truly mean? If we knew all the circumstances of someone’s life, we could forgive all wrong doing. If someone grew up in a big city, with a dominating family, and little to no voice- you would understand their aggression. If they grew up in a small town, surrounded by the same type of people, only knowing the status quo- you would understand their ignorance. If they were made fun of as a child, and are insecure- you will understand their resentment and actions.

Our lives have formed each of us into the specific people we are here and now. We have the choice in every situation and circumstance how that event will change us, but it will. A person has a rough childhood- they can choose to become bitter towards the world or rise above and find motivation from it. In either circumstance their life is now different because of it. The people they interact with or come in contact with will pay the price or reap the benefits of that specific moment.

Someone who had little as a child- would either learn to work hard for things or fall into the same path of poverty. The same works for wealth- the child can take after the parents work ethic or adapt a mindset that they are owed everything. No matter the situation there is always an effect. The dilemma is when a person chooses to become bitter or better. We can not always choose the things that will happen to us but we can choose the way we react.

This becomes very apparent to me when it comes to forgiveness. In every wrong doing we can become bitter or better. I choose to adapt my favorite proverb “to know all is to forgive all.” We have all been shaped and molded. Instead of taking a wrong doing personally- I look at a persons life and realize we all have places to grow. I’m loud. My life has formed me to be that way. There is nothing wrong or offensive with that trait. People can choose to be annoyed or see the beauty behind the story of a life lived.

It is so hard for me to watch when people seek revenge. Remember, “hurt people, hurt people.” It is best to choose to forgive for your own heart. When we feed into the drama of life- we perpetuate a circle of hate and hurt. Rarely is anything 100% personal. So don’t take it in such a way. Love the people around you and humbly respect we all have a story. If someone is a constant source of hurt, distance yourself from them.

Forgiveness does not mean you accept a behavior that continually hinders you. Choosing forgiveness is understanding why and stopping the line of bitterness. It is choosing for your souls sake to be better. This and every circumstance will mold you. Where do you want your heart to be?

I hope you chose the better side. Counseling is such a great thing for many people. I would recommend every young person do it. You can walk back through your life and see how you have been molded. You can change the original choice of bitterness. You can become a person who no longer feeds the circle of hurt but understands the story and process of life.

Think about this proverb today. Start with the people you know best. Have they ever lost someone, been abused, made fun of, stolen from? Ask yourself how there life reflects that situation. Then imagine the stranger you know nothing about. That mean store clerk goes home to an emotionally abusive spouse. She may have chosen bitterness over becoming better. The point is when you look her in the eyes and say to yourself “to know all is to forgive all.”
You feel much different about her now don’t you? She became a person with a story. Someone living the same life of struggles and triumphs as you.

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