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Forgive to Live

Danielle N. Quailey

 Danielle finally realized that in order to go forward and live a happy life, she needed to forgive the two people who had so cruelly wronged her.


The Holy Spirit strengthens us to forgive instead following our human tendency to hold a grudge. As Paul explains, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).*
 
Jesus asks us to “be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. . . . Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:36, 37).
 
Paul counsels us to act in the following way: “Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. . . . And let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:13-15).
 
For other pointers on forgiveness, read the story “Forgiving My Leaders” and its sidebar on pages 8-10 of the September 11, 2010, issue of Insight magazine.
 
*All Bible texts in this sidebar are from the New King James Version. Copyright  1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 


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A Lesson in Forgiveness




by Danielle N. Quailey

God patiently teaches Danielle how to forgive and move on, and He’ll do the same for you.

 It was difficult to see through my tears, but I blinked quickly to clear my vision. The pain in my heart was almost unbearable, as though the incident had happened a few days ago instead of nearly a year ago. The emotional turmoil still bubbled inside me, and the tears just kept coming. I thought back to that fateful day when I found out that my current boyfriend and my good friend had had close relations prior to his dating me. When I found this out, I was mortified and couldn’t understand why it had happened.


I mean, my boyfriend and I weren’t dating at the time of those incidents, but the three of us were all friends, and he was my best friend. I thought that he’d told me everything about his past, since we shared pretty much everything with each other. I couldn’t help but wonder why he’d kept this from me. To make things more confusing, while he was having relations with her, he showed signs that he liked me.
 
I couldn’t understand the actions of my close friend either, considering the fact that she had urged my boyfriend and me to get together. It didn’t make sense to me that while she was acting as a matchmaker, she and he had their own secret relationship going on.
 
After mentally running through all this again for the thousandth time, I snapped back into the present and got up to get some tissues from the bathroom. The tears were coming faster now as I thought about what had happened next. I was so angry at the fact that the two of them had been keeping such a huge secret from me for so long that I just shut down. I didn’t speak to my close friend for two weeks, and my boyfriend and I weren’t on the best of terms either.
 
The pain reverberated through my very soul every minute of every day, and going to school became a torturous experience. I’d never before felt so alone in my entire life. As time passed, more people in our class began to find out what was going on. As I walked through the hallways, I heard whispers and snickers as people talked about how crazy I was for feeling the way I did. To them, it was normal for single people to have close relations with each other without any ties. I was considered the strange one because I didn’t believe in that kind of behavior!
 
My boyfriend acted as if this situation had nothing to do with him, barely doing anything to come to my defense. And my close friend firmly believed that I was overreacting and needed to get over it.
 
I thank God every day for the two supportive friends who became my new best friends while all this was going on. They helped me get through this experience. Without them and God I don’t know how I would’ve survived it.
Eventually, I dropped the subject, and everything went back to “normal” between my friend and me, and between my boyfriend and me. Unfortunately for me, deep down I really wasn’t over it. I’d only put my feelings on the back burner for the sake of the two relationships I shared. After all, they were two of the most important people in my life, and I loved them deeply.
 
A month passed, and everything seemed to be fine until one day when an incident similar to the one I’d experienced happened to that same close friend. She reacted in a more extreme manner than I had (after belittling me for my reaction). To make matters worse, my boyfriend made himself emotionally available to her, but when I had been the one suffering, I practically had to beg him for some emotional support. All of the pain and all of the sadness and all of the anger had returned—in full force. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I thought I had moved on, but I really hadn’t. I tried my best to mask my feelings, but to no avail.
 
Eventually, my close friend confronted me about the situation. We had an argument, and nothing was resolved. Soon after, I decided to write her a letter expressing how I felt about everything. It took me two weeks to send that letter, partly because at the end of it I told her that I couldn’t be her friend anymore. I was wrestling with myself, wondering if I was being too irrational or too immature, or if I really wanted to end our friendship. But at the end of those two weeks I realized that I couldn’t be happy as long as we remained friends. I sent her that letter, and she was mad. The next day, my boyfriend and I broke up.
 
I felt horrible about ending those two relationships, but it didn’t make sense to me to try and sacrifice my feelings for the sake of two people who obviously didn’t truly care about me. I tried to remain friends with my now ex-boyfriend after I went off to college in the fall. It worked for a little while, but I finally realized I couldn’t be friends with him either, especially since he made no effort to salvage what little friendship we had left.
 
I realized that I needed to focus on my new life in college, and on the new relationships I was cultivating. My plan worked for a while, but when I came home for break, all of my hard work went down the drain. I had nothing to distract me now, and I thought about everything that I’d gone through during that whole bitter experience. I realized that the friends I’d made and the experiences I’d had in college were distractions, things to try and help me forget about the pain I’d suffered and the relationships I’d lost.
 
At that moment I realized something important: I needed to forgive my ex-boyfriend and my former friend! I realized that the pain and suffering that I felt were continuing because of my refusal to forgive them. I thought about life in the present. I thought about how they had both moved on with their lives and how I had sat around feeling sorry for myself and asking God why they got to be happy and move on, while I sat here in misery and pain. The pain was stronger than ever, and I couldn’t figure out how to shake it. I prayed to God every night, asking Him to take the pain away and help me to forgive. But I made no real effort to heed His command to forgive.
 
As I dried my eyes, I realized that there was no way that I could be truly happy unless I forgave. I realized that by holding on to my resentment and rehearsing the pain again and again in my heart and mind, I was committing emotional suicide. My former friends had already moved on and forgotten, and the only person I was hurting by holding on to this was myself. I was going around in circles instead of moving on, and that was sabotaging my life and the future relationships that I would have.
 
Recently, I went to my mom and asked her what I should do about my current situation. She told me that I needed to pick up the pieces of my broken heart, forgive, and let God take care of the rest. I needed to free myself from this so that I could grow and be truly happy in and of myself. As I cried in her arms, I knew that she was right and that I needed to let go.
 
I cried myself to sleep that night, and the next morning I prayed harder than ever before about the situation. I placed it in God’s hands, and I know that He has something special in mind for me. He taught me a lesson in forgiveness, and I was at long last actually on the road to a happy, healthy recovery!
 
Danielle N. Quailey is a mass communications major at a university in Tennessee. She enjoys freelance writing, ice-skating, and aerobic workouts.
 
 
 




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