The day after she died, Maggie’s relatives came demanding the title deed to her property in Kiserian and all her earthly belongings. Maggie was our nanny who worked for us for 9 years before she fell ill and died. Her body still lay cold in the morgue when the relatives arrived on my doorstep.
When the 5th relative – yet a different one called me to explain how he was the legitimate next of kin to whom documents and property was to be given, I told him in my most ominous voice, that this is Nairobi, and anything is possible. And that I would buy a gun and shoot dead the next relative who called. I also told him that the only information I wanted was when and where she was to be buried. The next call informed me of the burial date and place.
I was very very angry. And I have been angry with them for a long time. I have experienced no peace since. Her grandmother chased off the tenants, locked up the Kiserian houses and hid the key in her breasts. I have been reported to the police, by some relatives, as having stolen her documents. I have also had all manner of witchcraft like activities including strange people dancing around, chanting, spraying liquids and breaking calabashes, conducted in my name amongst a host of other very troublesome experiences.
I have been extremely infuriated angry especially because my Maggie was an orphan. She worked hard saving day and night to buy land and build with only one objective – that her sisters would not suffer as she had. None of these irritants in the name of her relatives ever asked or followed up on the welfare of the remaining sisters. I will not provide details about how annoyed I have been with them or describe to you the names I have hurled at them silently whilst wishing to do so in public.
This has been my world until recently when I learnt and fully understood the true meaning and significance of forgiveness. And so……… I forgave them.The great Oprah Winfrey – multimillion dollar talk show host, said “Forgiving someone does not mean accepting what they have done as alright. It doesn’t mean accepting their apology. Forgiveness is simply giving up hope that the past could have been any different and letting go” How powerful is that?
You see there are things that forgiveness is not. And since my realization of these liberating facts my life has not been the same again. The experts who contributed to the famous Mars Hill study on what forgiveness is not summarize these insights authoritatively and I’m quite happy to share my favourite three.
As we examine these three, please think about someone that has committed such an atrocity against you that continues to upset you. Your wife, husband, your ex, your boss, your nanny, your sister, brother, work mate, best friend or parents. Yes you know who that is and what it is they have done that you find so difficult to forgive. Agreed?
First: FORGIVENESS IS NOT DENYING A WRONGDOING.
“I forgot all about it. I just moved on. I pretend like it never happened. I didn’t let it affect me.” That’s NOT true. Forgiveness is not denying that something hurtful has happened or neglecting justice. You can forgive someone and call the police and have them arrested. If one has committed a crime and broken the law, they need to go through the corrective process. There are consequences for actions. Forgiveness is not neglecting of justice. You can forgive and pursue justice. Forgiveness is just making a conscious choice to let go. Just like I consciously let go of Maggie’s gang of relatives. They did what they did and possibly will continue to do crazy things but I’m not sweating it anymore. I appeal to you – forgive that person you are thinking about right now. Let go.
Second: FORGIVENESS IS NOT WAITING FOR AN APOLOGY.
We often say, “I will forgive them as soon as they say they’re sorry.”Now let me break it to you gently – some people are never going to apologize. Some will continue in their destructive and foolish ways. Some people will be stubborn and never confess wrongdoing. Some will die before they apologize. So there you have it. Forgive them before they apologize. You. Yes, YOU are the bigger one here. Liberate yourself – forgive them for they know not what they are doing. I for sure am not waiting for Maggie’s next of kin to come and apologize to me – I’ve forgiven them. Would you please forgive that person you are thinking of that has hurt you and done crazy things even if they haven’t said they are sorry?
Third: FORGIVENESS IS NOT FORGETTING.
Breaking news – forgive and forget is a big myth! No! You can’t forgive and forget. You can’t. You were raped, molested, abandoned, beaten, abused, cheated on, betrayed, lied to. “Forget it”? You can’t. It’s impossible. It also does not mean ceasing to feel the pain. How? But we can choose to forgive these despicable beings!!! We can choose to not think about them all the time and seethe angrily. And it is ok if it still hurts. It’s okay. You will find healing once you let go. Your burden will be lighter.
So we’ve discussed what forgiveness is not. It is not denying the wrong, it is not waiting for an apology and it is definitely not forgetting.Forgiveness is about lessening our own emotional burdens and healing the pain in our hearts. It takes a generous spirit to forgive and let go. Heal yourself. Today – make the powerful choice with conviction to forgive that person. Yes that one. You know them don’t you?
My life has completely transformed from an angry angry woman who wanted to wipe Maggie’s relatives off the face of this earth to one who has forgiven them and let them go. I am Un-chained, Un-yoked and Un-shacked. I feel completely liberated and would love for you to join me.
Step over onto the world of freedom? I invite you
Ref: Mars Hill Expert Study 2010 – What Forgiveness is Not.