Several months ago I appeared on an internationally acclaimed TV show hosted by a husband/wife team. For more than a quarter of a century, this couple shared their personal lives and God’s Word with millions of loyal followers. I was deeply saddened when they recently appeared on national TV revealing their dark secret of infidelity.
He spoke with great remorse for having committed such an egregious offense against his wife, family, friends and God. She lovingly shared her decision to forgive and preserve their marriage. I knew all-to-well the importance of forgiveness and how it benefited me in past similar experiences. But I have since outgrown forgiveness: I will never again forgive anyone for any offense.
The betrayals of my past have taught me much: first, that everything that happens in my life is a very necessary part of my journey. Each experience is absolutely essential for me to become the person God created me to be and to fulfill His Divine Plan. Much as an athlete must endure painful hours in the gym with demanding coaches and aching muscles in order to break world records, so must I face devastating hardships to achieve personal greatness.
The same applies to family and friends: each must realize their own mistakes and suffer the consequences of their imperfections in order that they, too, may find their appointed path in life. It is not for me to say what decisions they must make nor lessons they must learn in order to fulfill their destiny. This is between them and God and I must remove myself from their equation.
My life is my relationship between me and God. I am here to live my life in ways that please Him. I share my life with others but my life is not about them. When I err, I have failed against God and He is saddened by my poor judgment. My struggles and indiscretions are between Him and me exclusively.
I have also discovered that everything that comes into my life is here to teach and benefit me. Infidelity, blackmail, abuse all have the potential to make me a better person. Each can enrich my life should I allow it. Those who bring these experiences to me are merely messengers in my script of life. I have since learned to welcome them for they bring gifts of immeasurable value for me to unwrap and apply.
Pain has allowed me to come to know God on a deeper more intimate level that a life of ease could never provide. When I hurt, I instinctively turn to Him for healing and He never disappoints. When I feel abandoned, He comforts. When I’m confused, He offers clarity and guidance. Where is there room for anger or hurt towards anyone who has paved the way for me to profoundly know God? There isn’t.
Do I need to forgive my boss for requiring me to put in long exhausting hours to earn the title of VP of sales? No. I understand the sacrifices required for success.
And now I understand this great myth of forgiveness: it is redundant when one recognizes the necessity of all experiences. My life is a spiritual journey of knowing God. I am grateful to all who provide me the opportunity to experience His Love. And while the events they bring may not be pleasant, the rewards are immeasurable. For me, there is no longer the need to ever forgive anyone for each has blessed me in ways unimaginable. Thanks to them, my life is exactly as it should be.
Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger
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