Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Self-worth & Forgiveness

Someone recently posted an article about relying on others (and our relationships with them) for our happiness and how we view ourselves. There are many manifestations of this; among them:  Inability to establish and maintain friendships; dominate/submission relationship; needing to be loved by another to feel validated and significant; tolerating abuse or mistreatment from people while excusing their behavior (i.e. he was having a bad day); feeling personally responsible for the way others act and feel; etc., etc.

The article can be found here; if you're curious, take a look.

The fact is, I am fighting these tendencies all day long. At one point I could check off every item listed in this article. Jesse has never wanted or encouraged them, in fact, something he often says is, "What do you think?" or "What would you do?" He has struggled to help me on towards a more healthy place, mentally and emotionally.

I know so many people who are not only living in codependent relationships, they believe this is the way to pleasing God. Thus, it defines your existence. From my own experience and closely observing others who embrace these relationships, I can say that this mindset is damaging in so many ways.

But the realization of bondage didn't hit me until I had been freed. I cannot believe how blind I was, or that I couldn't see even the most basic of truths. It isn't that I have life and love figured out but there is more Truth in my existence than ever before. Gone are the holds of my past. When old habits come back for a visit, I'm able to recognize them and shut the door. It feels good.

The other part of this post is about forgiveness. Some interesting situations have beset my sister and I lately and I needed a reminder. So, I searched for quotes on the subject and found some that really caught my attention. I was also remembering acts of Jesus towards those around him, especially those closest to him. Most significant was the washing of his disciples feet. What a beautiful example of acceptance and forgiveness and humility. He accepted his disciples for who they were (unrepentant, arrogant), utterly forgave their faults (though they did not ask for it) as he washed the dirt away. I seek for such a spirit.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. 
-- Lewis B. Smedes

He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself, for every man has need to be forgiven. 
-- Thomas Fuller

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it.
 -- Mark Twain

Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness,
 or else forgiving another. 
-- Jean Paul

Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.
 -- Desmond Tutu

No one else can take risks for us, or face our losses on our behalf, or give us self esteem. No one can spare us from life's slings and arrows, and when death comes,
 we meet it alone.
 -- Martha Beck

Courage is grace under pressure. 
-- Ernest Hemingway

Courage is not simply one of the virtues,
 but the form of every virtue at the testing point. 
-- C. S. Lewis

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. 
-- Coco Chanel

Who could refrain who had a heart to love and in that heart courage
 to make that love known. 
-- William Shakespeare

And one just for fun:

I am told that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it. 
-- J.R.R Tolkien


JCR said...

Good thoughts Naomi. I went through that checklist and yep, a lot of them describe me even still. The constant need for loved ones approval as well as thinking that I am somehow responsible for their behavior. I am learning that I don't need to accept/tolerate that unhealthy behavior and I can set boundaries in relationships. I just read a great book by Christian Author, Dr Henry Cloud called Changes That Heal and it was very revealing, gave me a lot to digest and work on in myself with God's help to overcome some of this stuff I struggle with.

Naomi T. said...

I often wonder if this mindset falls most upon those who have been forced into situations of great responsibility? We want everyone to be happy and we feel we are the only ones who can make it happen. If it people aren't happy, it must be our fault. It doesn't help when we are told this is true by someone we're supposed to be able to trust. Just a thought... I may be simplifying situations and circumstances. ;) :P

That sounds like an interesting book... I should look it up sometime.

Joyful Alaska Mommy said...

Good thoughts, Naomi. I have recently realized how bitterness (the product of unforgiveness) can be in our lives, and us not even realize it... Yet, it can remain "buried" until something revives that old feeling again...

You may really appreciate a booklet called "Royal Purposes" by Edwin & Lillian Harvey. It is very encouraging...and it is broken into small sections, so it is easy to read. I wish you were close by, so I could let you read mine! :-) You can order it here, I think....

Also, I was reading something this morning that was reminding us to remember that forgiving someone is more for our own lives, than even for the one you are forgiving (especially if they are not asking for forgiveness, or if it is someone who has died). Just like Christ forgave the men who crucified him, and Stephen forgave the ones stoning him... They were not wanting his forgiveness..and probably were angry that he even said this... but it was for HIS release the other from his judging them, to allowing God to be the judge. Here is a quote from the article...

"Forgiveness is not pretending there was no wrong done, it does not prevent the consequences of wrong-doing, and it is not a felling. On the contrary, forgiveness is a decision. Forgiveness is letting go of a debt while releasing the offender from our judgment into God's judgment." - Tina Oliveri

Anyway, just a good thought...

Thanks for sharing!


Naomi T. said...

Thank you for sharing, Sharia. I love that quote. Forgiveness is a difficult concept to grasp. Forgiveness isn't the same as "trust" or "forgetting". Forgiveness is much deeper. I appreciate the beauty of forgiveness unwrapped.