My favorite taste is sour—sour candies, pickles, anything with lemon, sour cherries, you name it—I love it! Some people may prefer savory, or sweet—or the newcomer to the block, umami—but the one basic taste I’ve never found to be anyone’s favorite is bitter. I’m not surprised! In fact, the word I’ve seen most used in definitions of the word bitter is “unpleasant.”
Everyone has times in their past that they look upon as “dark nights”—tragedies or difficulties that were largely beyond their control and sometimes the direct result of other people’s wrong choices or unloving actions. How people react to those wrongs can determine whether they become bitter or better for them.
Before you begin, put on a strong stain-proof apron to protect against the drips of bitterness and the sourness of life. In a bowl of resilient material, able to withstand blows, falls, and chipping, mix the following ingredients:
Questions: Why should I forgive others who have done things that hurt me? Wouldn’t that absolve them from guilt? Why should I let them off the hook like that?
Answer: No matter how hard it may be to forgive, your situation can’t improve until you take that all-important step.
It begins with understanding that forgiveness isn’t entirely or even primarily for the sake of the other party. You also need to forgive the person who hurt you for the sake of your own emotional and spiritual well-being; it’s a necessary part of the healing process. Here are three reasons why that is so:
A blanket of fog on the runway had caused a three-hour delay. I boarded the plane and settled wearily into my seat. How good it would be to get back to home and loved ones!
Midway through the flight, I was engrossed in conversation with a fellow passenger named Robert, when a young woman passed by in the aisle, swinging her purse behind her. It knocked my cup of coffee right into my lap, splashing my jacket and running down the legs of my jeans. I grabbed as many tissues and napkins as I could find, mopped up what I could, and resigned myself to the fact that the rest of the mess would remain until I got home. Only then did I glance down the aisle at the girl responsible for the mishap. She was waiting outside the toilet, oblivious to the minor catastrophe she had caused in seat 25C.
Most of the unpleasant things that happen to us are like bruises or minor scrapes to our spirits. Like minor injuries to our bodies that only leave a mark or hurt for a short while, those hurtful incidents may temporarily make us “black” with negative thoughts or “blue” with discouragement but are usually forgotten fairly quickly. At some time or another, however, many of us experience deep wounds to our spirits. How can we be healed of those?
“Lord, make all the bad people good,” a young boy prayed, “and then make all the good people nice.” Unfortunately, in this imperfect world, sometimes we have to live around people who aren’t always good, and other times we have to live around generally good people who aren’t always nice. We’ve all been in situations where we feel we’ve been unjustly treated or misjudged, and we almost certainly will be again.
She held the cell phone in her trembling hand, not wanting to read the text message that had just come in. But she’d provoked it.
She’d waited a month for his return—the last week sheer torture. When he’d called the previous day to say he was back in town, her heart had skipped a beat. He’d been back for four days, it turned out, but hadn’t contacted her till then. They’d made small talk and laughed, but when she asked when she’d see him, he’d been evasive.
Sometimes when we’ve been wronged and struggle to forgive those who have wronged us, the examples of others who have forgiven far greater wrongs help us put things in perspective. When they speak of the power of forgiveness, the world listens.
The first blue-eyed person I ever saw was the pilot of a U.S. fighter plane who was about to fire on my mother and me. I was ten years old, helping my mother pick oranges in a mountain field, when a U.S. squadron flew over our island, heading towards the Japanese naval port close to Hiroshima. One fighter plane broke away from the others and came directly towards us. My mother cried out, “It’s coming for us!”