Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
When I was growing up, I have had so many bad things happen in my life. So many things that I do not ever want to talk about. I have learned to slowly speak up about them. Why? Because, I have to learn to forgive, I am still figuring out if I should forgive myself or forgive the people that have done harm to me. In college, I went to a bible study camp and we were talking about “Forgiveness” this was hard for me. I heard this verse, and all my anger and rage came out. I could not stop it, I started crying. I just wanted it to stop and go away. I just wanted my life to be normal for once. My heart was pounding so hard, I was weak to my knees. I could not even focus on the rest of the bible study. I felt embarrassed, because I broken down in front of people who did not know anything about my past life. I felt ashamed, because I had to tell them a story that I was afraid to face myself. This moment made me realize that I was not controlling myself life. I was not controlling my own mind. I had no control.
I just thought about all the bad people in my life. I thought about how they used me, hurt me and made me feel like a bad person. All the people that cheated and hurt my spirit. I cried for days after that. My bible study coach took me aside and helped me get through this. I did not know what to do. I felt ashamed for the bad thoughts and rage running through my mind, but I also felt ashamed for forgiving the people that hurt me so much. Forgiveness sounds like the easiest thing to do in the world, but why was it so hard for me? Every time, I thought about those moments, the anger and hate grew and grew. I just wanted it to stop. Stop controlling my life. I was making others hate those people, I was making myself hate those people more and more. I was telling others how they were bad people. How they should never associate themselves with those people, how they should hate those people also. I was spreading the rage towards other people. I mean, I felt like I was right. I felt like I was protecting others from those bad people. I did not realize that I was spreading more hate and more rage into myself. I did not realize that I was making it worse on myself.
As I sit here right now thinking about all the bad things that were done to be me, I still have little hints of rage coming from inside me. I resist the urge to make it into rage. As first, I used to think that Forgiveness meant totally forgiving someone and being family with them again. But, I came to realize that I needed to forgive myself. I needed to move forward. Those people will never change their ways and I have to learn to let that not control my mind. I have to learn I have to forgive myself. I have to remind myself that nothing was my fault. I have to remind myself that rage is not the way to go. I have take each memory one step at a time. This took me years to figure out after that moment at bible camp. I wanted to forgive, but I had to figure out if it was in me or them. I came to realize that some people will not change their ways, that is one thing that the bible does not teach us. I read so many passages about “Forgiveness” and caring for oneself, but none of what it truly meant. The world is changing, people are changing, but there are always going to be good people and bad people. Will I continue to feel the rage whenever I think about those bad people who raped me, who cut me, who forced me to do things I did not want to do. Will that rage control my life? I had to find a way out. I had to find a way to control my mind, others were controlling my mind and I was letting them.
I used to let those memories control what I did. I was nervous about everything. Relationships did not last, friends did not last. Fear grew inside of me. I became depressed about who I wanted to be. Those memories took over my school studies and even affected my family. In 2015, I came to realize that I had some dreams and goals that I wanted to accomplish. I got really excited at the idea of it. I would draw diagrams and made paperwork and set out my goals, but I would stop in my tracks. Those memories came flooding in and I would tell myself “What is the point of even trying?” and “Everyone has already labeled me on what they see me as. That is the easier path to follow.” I did not have the energy to continue my goals. I did not have the energy to work hard anymore, I was scared and timid again. I would began to think about how they were the reason I am becoming a bad person, I let them control my thoughts. I let them control my movements and my life. I did not realize it at the time, but I was going downhill. I had to do something it. If I wanted to reach my goals, I had to face my demons and that means facing “Forgiveness” that was the hardest thing for me to face. I still have some rage and hatred over what happened. I know that I will always have those emotions throughout my whole life. As I continued to face those demons, I realized that it became easier and easier to control my mind, to clear my mind. Like a little file folder in my mind, I sorted through those memories and faced them one by one. I wrote down each memory, each moment. I cried through it all, my body trembled and heart was pounding. Every day, became easier and easier. I found myself not talking about those bad people as much. I found myself not worrying about what they thought about me. I found myself realizing that it was not my fault after all. I realized that I was clearing out those bad file folders in my mind. I was making room for new memories, giving myself a chance at life. Forgiving myself for letting others control my mind.
Forgiveness is what one of the hardest things someone faces in their lifetime. People will hurt you, people will make you do things that you do not want to do. The hardest thing is finding if you should forgive those people or give yourself for having all the rage inside of you. It takes years to figure it out and even lifetimes to change. I cannot tell you how to figure all the bad things and bad people in your life, but I can tell you that it will be one of the hardest things you will face in your lifetime.