When my son was in 3rd grade and the victim of a bully,
… and when we had to pull him from one school and move him to another in the middle of the year,
… and when we discovered the school had covered up their mistake of not supporting or reporting the situation,
… and when we met with the district administrators and school board to hold them accountable for the breakdown of procedure,
… and when they reminded me this was a scenario we’d never win,
… I was so filled with anger, and I wanted someone to pay.
I was furious and heartbroken and in disbelief. How did this happen?
And after the final meeting where it was clear they had no intention to help make right what had gone very wrong, I walked out the door bloodied from the battle.
I heard the Enemy say – Your best wasn’t good enough.
For years, I held on to that anger tightly. When I’d drive by the district offices and our former school, I would cuss in their direction. I might have even made a hand gesture or two (or 400) at their buildings. #supermature
But I never felt better for long.
I’d share my story with friends, telling them how inept the system was. I’d name names and recount the mind-blowing details of the situation.
But “getting it off my chest” never helped.
I warned parents, I talked to the local newspaper, and I contacted former teachers, hoping to collect an army of voices to fight along side me.
Oh yes, I was a big bowl of fun, mixed with a heaping spoonful of grace and love. Not.
Honestly, I might have been one of those parents.
But at the very core of it all, I just didn’t want my kids to grow up feeling less than. I didn’t want them to be victims of abuse like I was.
And I didn’t want to find myself in another situation where the tangles of my own insecurity got knotted up again — the ones that whispered you failed at something else.
But here I was:
… I couldn’t forgive the bully for doing it.
… I couldn’t forgive the school system for covering it.
… I couldn’t forgive God for allowing it.
… And I couldn’t forgive myself for not fixing it.
I was completely tangled in joy-stealing, peace-draining, contentment-ending, happiness-smashing, grace-pilfering unforgiveness.
And I couldn’t find my way out of it on my own.
Forgiveness is so tricky, because it lies to us. It says…
1) if your forgive, you’re letting them off the hook.
2) you can’t forgive unless they apologize first.
3) forgiving means forgetting.
We’re in the final week of “An Untangled Summer” study with my amazing friend Julie Thomas from Women Who Believe, and she is unpacking these 3 lies in greater detail on her blog today. Click HERE to head over.
And as usual, we’ll be unpacking this in the Untangled Women Facebook community. Click HERE to access.
Oh, and I have a big announcement at the end of the week. Stay tuned.
Friends, I’m learning that life is an adventure in forgiveness. And the sooner we can give it, the freer we’ll be from tangles.
We’re called to forgive NOT because someone deserves forgiveness, but because we deserve peace.
Think about it.