Thank God it’s Fundamental Friday. This weekly article will venture into the fundamental elements of a variety of aspects of our lives and present the questions to us all, “Are we fundamental sound?”
Forgive: The fundamental words for this Friday.
It has been stated often that to forgive someone is not for them but for you. It is extremely difficult to move on when the memory of a mistake lingers in our mind. When we don’t forgive, we hold ourselves captive or enslaved to a past event which prevents us from continuing on our life’s journey.
What exactly is it to forgive? To forgive is to stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, mistake or flaw. The key words are: stop feeling, resentful, offense, mistake and flaw. These words enlighten us what we should stop doing base on some else actions that may offend us. One key element that is not obvious is that sometimes we have to forgive ourselves.
It is a difficult task to coach or mentor a person through the times of being offended or hurt. Many of us, especially in our youthful stage of life’s journey, find it difficult to forgive someone when we have been done wrong. Our focus changes from the tasks at hand to an emotional driven state that minimizes are abilities. Sometimes this is a tactic used by our competition to distract us and get us off our game.
In baseball, when a batter gets hit by a pitch, it ignites and emotional storm that can disrupt a game. More than likely, that batter will face that pitcher again. It is this subsequent at-bat that is hindered if the batter is focused on getting hit. To remain success at the plate, the batter has to forgive the pitcher, focus on the pitch and executing the process of hitting the ball. It is the art of forgiveness that helps us refocus on our task or journey after a person or situation has distracted us.
Unlike the sport of golf, in which the audience is quite in order to minimize distractions, baseball is full of distractions, especially for the batter. In some case, the pitcher intentionally pitches the ball high and tight (an inside pitch that could hit the batter if he does not move) in order to back the player off the plate or to set up a pitching away from the batter on the next pitch. It is these pitches that sometimes hit a batter and emotional can and have taken over games.
There are some athletes, like Kareem Abdul Jabar and Micheal Jordan, that seem to play better when they are upset or distracted by another players action (intentional or not). However, the majority of athletes are not able to play at the best when their emotions have been shifted behind a wrong action by another player. Therefore, many coaches strive to help their players maintain a cool, calm demeanor in the midst of adversity. One of the best ways is for the player to forgive and refocus on playing to the best of their ability.
As we attempt to forgive others, baseball is also an example of how we must also forgive ourselves. Baseball is a sport that keeps track of mistakes, namely errors that an athlete makes during the course of a game. In some cases batters swing a bad pitch, in other cases, an infielder may miss a ground ball or make a bad throw. It is these times when a baseball player does not have time to soak in their mistake because the game continues on and seldom our athletes substituted because of a mistake.
This is when a baseball player must forgive himself and get ready for the next pitch or play. Self-forgiveness is a critical part of the game of baseball because the game continues and does not allow for a player to get caught up in their emotions. It does happen and in those cases, the player tends to make another error or mistake because that have not refocused on the task at hand.
Life is very similar. As we journey down the path of life, we will inevitably experience being offended by someone. In some case, it may be an intentional action, but in others, the offense may be unintentional. Regardless of the personal intentions, it is extremely difficult to move on and continue down the path of life, if we pull over at let our emotions take over. This is when we have to find in ourselves a way to forgive the person for that situation and move on.
Forgiving does not imply forgetting or not learning from the situation, it about getting understanding and getting back to walking down the path of life. When we are in a state of emotional distress from lack of forgiving, we tend to place ourselves in a position of missing opportunities that may be presented to us. In some cases, we develop a myopic view that only focused on the wrong that was done and the individual that wrong us, but like in a baseball game, the world keeps spinning, time continues to tick by and opportunity continue to present themselves. It is our ability to forgive that allows us to refocus on transition smoothly from being offended to learning and moving on to the next opportunity that awaits us.
No one is perfect, especially ourselves. Therefore, we will make mistakes and/or fall short of what we are capable of doing. In these situations, we must find a way to forgive ourselves less we will be stuck in an emotional battle that can be self-afflicting. Take time to acknowledge any mistake, ponder on ways it could have been avoided, then forgive yourself and move on. As much as forgiveness is for the person that has wrong us, sometimes we are that person and we must forgive ourselves in order to proceed down the path of life.
Our faith in God and attempts to walk the path of righteousness is a shining example of what forgiveness does on a daily bases. We all fall short of the Glory of God, yet God’s grace and mercy (or God’s forgiveness) allows us continued opportunities in life even though we offend God daily. In some cases it is intentional and in others it’s unintentional, but in either case, God forgives us and provides us with a chance to repent, to change our ways and to continue in a relationship with Him. When we think of the forgiveness that God gives us, it can help us forgive those that have offended us.
As an offender, many of us want a chance to correct our offensive action. We must remember that feeling and desire when someone offends us. Forgiving a person is rooted in knowing that we are not perfect and giving an opportunity for a person to correct any offense just as we would want to do if we are the offender. We must also remember that there is an element of self-forgiveness we must have in dealing with ourselves and the mistake we make that offends ourselves. Our maturity in life is can be stifled by our lack of forgiveness or our maturity will grow immeasurably by our wiliness to forgive others and ourselves.
As continue to mature in fundamental soundness, let’s not lose the importance of being forgiving of others as well as ourselves. Let’s avoid the emotional distractions that can pull us off our path of life. Let’s express grace and mercy as God does with us daily and use the essence of forgiveness to move past all the situations in which we find ourselves offended.
Until next Friday, let’s move through our journey of life with a forgiving heart and knowing that our ability to remain focused on our personal journey requires avoiding the distraction that will come. Forgiving is one way we can move past being offended.