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Forgiveness and Grace

Forgiveness is really more for ourselves than for the person we want to forgive. Lack of forgiveness is like a little cancer in our bodies that just simmers, grows and then makes us sick. The last 2-3 years has brought up many opportunities to forgive and practice patience due to various political and medical discrepancies. The issue is not just with society in general, but this polarization is being felt in families, friendships and even marriages.

I have been on quite the spiritual journey during this time. Despite many painful experiences, like loss of friendships (and for some people alienated family members), my faith has led me on a journey of radical forgiveness by learning who I really am. I was struggling with a particular situation with a colleague and kept coming back to the hurt I felt when our ways parted related to the way the world has gone. I had a mix of hurt, anger, and a desire to forgive but also a desire to convince her of my “side”. I finally had that ‘aha’ moment. There was really nothing to forgive after all. Seemed obvious after all that prayer and meditation. The reality is that most people are only doing the best they know how during this time in history, so I shifted my perspective.

Out of 8 billion people on this Earth, we have 8 billion different opinions with different cultures, faiths, and personalities. Ideally, we should be able to have a hearty discussion about politics, religion, and covid related subjects with disagreements and still be friends at the end of the day. It is human nature to want to be around like-minded and comfortable people but we grow more when we push those edges and talk to people with differing opinions. It is sad that not everyone wants to communicate with love or is able to at this moment. So let’s try to find those who do want to talk. We need human connection always.

Back to my colleague, and finally realizing there is nothing to forgive. Again, it came down to feeling the need to be heard as opposed to someone doing wrong to me. That person is doing the best they know how with the information they are able or willing to see just like I am doing my best with the information I am able or willing to see. Sometimes the opposite “truth” (regardless of validity) is just too painful and I don’t claim to know the inner workings of that colleague to judge their reactions. It isn’t personal. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with their journey. Instead of forgiving, I just need to know who I really am and give myself some grace. I can also hold space and love for that colleague even though we aren’t friends in this season. I can give gratitude for the season of friendship I did have.

For those suffering with the splitting of families, I recognize this is exquisitely painful. We have to trust that, although we may not be able to see it now, there will be beautiful things to rise out of the ashes. Time to trust the bigger plan and just surrender a little. We don’t have control over society and other people so let’s find the love within. Fall into the arms of our Creator and surrender. It is important to forgive when you can but also remember to show grace, not only to other people, but for yourself. See the love in each other and trust that this too shall pass.


Dr. Benton

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