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Breathing and Forgiveness

By Heather --

Just something I've noticed- perhaps I should mention though: I've actually posted up here AGES ago but kind of disappeared for a long time. Some things have changed, some things haven't but telling you everything that has has happened isn't why I'm here. But I've been wondering about one particular aspect of my life and wondered if anyone else here felt the same way.

You Will SeeImage by loswl via Flickr

When I first broke away, I was relieved as well as a little scared- the relief came from no longer living in fear of hell, nor in fear that people I both knew and didn't know would burn forever was however the best part. The idea terrified me as a Christian and I felt like a failure because I was an introvert who failed to be a prophet outside the Internet- otherwise known as the sanctuary of trolls at times. Thankfully those days are gone. If you happen to stumble across some 7 year old ramblings of a deluded teenager, I apologise in advance. Heh.

I still am to a certain extent an introvert, though I'm better than I was in some respects (though a part of me suspects I shall always be better at expressing myself in writing than speaking, and as you can probably tell from this short piece- even that is not very good!) ;)

But something has happened to me, something for the better perhaps, something I've realised since I left Christianity almost three years ago this month.

I now find it easier to forgive then I ever did as a Christian.

Sometimes my temper does flare, and I suppose in my weaker moments I will let it get the better of me in terms of the topic of religion at some point, and it almost has at certain points in the past...

However. I feel... better now than how I was as a Christian in this area. I find it easier to forgive past misjudgments. I used to FORCE myself to forgive because of the threat of hell, and then perhaps would secretly still stew over the issue, it never getting resolved in reality.

But now... I can. I just take a breath and take my time. Without the threat of hell I can do this more. I actually DO forgive more often and in an honest manner which is true to myself and others, and find I can do so more easily without the metaphorical gun to my head- because I can think straight without panicking at the thought of the bullet embedding itself inside my skull. I don't have to fear that if I die without forgiving someone immediately I'll go to hell. Also, the idea of THEM going to hell is no longer an issue, so I can look at the entire thing more rationally.

And 'miraculously' (for lack of a better term), it's become easier to forgive the silly things, and sometimes even some of the slightly bigger things too. I am no 'saint' (snerk) and I recognise my own failings- and I know other people have them too.

When I take the time, I realise that this is probably the only life we have, and it is not the place for petty squabbles- sometimes tact is needed too, but sometimes it's okay to be forceful, to air out things, to say to someone you don't feel the same way, and when something is wrong. Sometimes that's just more healthy. Then if possible, we can get back to the issue if necessary and be calm. It all depends really at the end of the day upon the issue at hand.

This is a great site, and it helps people to air out grievances they shouldn't keep bottled up- but in real life they may feel forced to, and sometimes it IS just easier to do so in writing then speaking out- and I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

I now look at Christians, even the most putrid forms, often with pity now when they attack me verbally. Or me personally at least (when it comes to other people or groups of people, my blood will boil, and I somehow doubt that will change, though it has to be said, even then I feel pity for them in a slightly different way). I understand that they're probably just afraid though- like an animal in the corner lashing out. Who hasn't at some point been like that? It's okay for me to be at least a little defensive in response to such people (which I sometimes am), but I shouldn't ALWAYS return to my basest animal instincts and remember it IS a wonderful thing to be human- to be aware of our place in the universe, as finite as it is, and that we have precious little time to waste. It's what gives our life meaning. An eternal life removes all meaning and means we have no reason to do anything of real value.

As for people who simply hurt others for the sake of hurting, they are not worth my time unless it is to defend those who need it. Though I will do my best not to lower myself to their basest argumentative level. After all, just because the Internet is filled with trolls doesn't mean we should always feed them. Over time, they may grow up or perhaps not. Time will tell. They just need to take a deep breath of their own and really look at themselves as scary as the idea sometimes is. Perhaps they'll be surprised at what they find. Perhaps they'll find that really it's OKAY to be afraid sometimes, but the point of bravery is not to attack and lash out, but to face those fears, evaluate them and do the right thing regardless. That is bravery.

Sometimes forgiveness is still hard of course. Sometimes it's not ALWAYS the answer, or not the immediate course of action at the very least. Sometimes forgiveness is not my choice to make- if the misdeed is against someone else for instance. There's still work to do before you can get to that point if at all a lot of the time.

For some people here it's still hard to forgive- and that's OKAY. Of course people have every right to feel angry, and we shouldn't apologise for our feelings. This site for many is like therapy, and when I first broke away, it was there for me in some respects, simply by reading the posts. Many here are not ready to forgive yet, some perhaps feel they never can, because hey we all have had different experiences here after all and we've all had out own heartaches. This is fine to say too. That is honesty. And we must at the very least at first be honest with ourselves if we can hope to get anywhere in life. Some people need more time. Some people need more than just time. We're all different after all.

But for some reason, since I've left and the feeling of betrayal has decreased, and as I've grown a little more contemplative, I now find forgiveness in general a lot easier now than I ever did as a Christian.

Perhaps because now I feel like I actually have a choice in the matter.