This is a story of my family. I have a relative that has held a grudge against certain members of my family for almost her entire life. She is in her 70s now and has held this grudge for more than 50 years. It has caused her to lie, cheat, and steal and that is not an exaggeration. All the while claiming to be a woman of Christian faith.
Right now, it is motivating her to an act of erasing more than 120 years of Black family history. History tied to land. In South Carolina. History of relatives not that far removed from slavery. History of surviving Jim Crow.
I was livid. I hated her. I hated my relatives for not doing more to protect the land even while knowing her true nature. I was ashamed of myself for my own financial mistakes and not being able to step in (a story I will share when I stop being ashamed of its telling).
But then I prayed and but God. And remembered that God never fails.
I began to feel the utmost sorrow for her. I began to pray that she can heal her heart after holding on to bitterness for so so long. I prayed that her legacy to her nuclear family doesn’t become one of greed and lies, but one of agape love and history.
I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to forgive and hold on to vengeance for so long. What did she miss out on in her life because she was so focused on exacting her revenge? What decisions do you make in your life when it is all about retaliation while trying to keep up appearances that you kind and selfless? I have been wronged and violated in many ways (again stories I will share for later). I forgave not to forget what happened, but to allow myself the space to live my life with the purpose that God has directed for me. I forgive so I can let go of the physical reaction when I see their name, but to not forget the nature evil and those who wallow in deception. Forgiveness so that I do not block further blessings in my life by worrying about what happened yesterday, but not to forget the warning signs that come across my path.
Letting go of the hurt, shame and anger has been freeing. It has freed me to focus on how to prevent situations in the future. It has freed me to focus on my own purpose.
Today, I let go.