Forgiveness is an important aspect of spiritual growth. Forgiving is not a simple task to be done. It may seem as simple as forgetting about the wrong that someone has done to you. Truly forgiving someone for his or her wrongs cannot be accomplished if you have not truly forgiven yourself.
I remember when I was a kid in junior high school I had a hard time fitting in. I remember being made fun of and being pushed in the hallways. I specifically remember this kid, who was held back a grade or so, who actually beat me up. Since he was held back, he was much bigger than I was. He seemed like a giant. My mom asked me what happened and I said I was playing football. She bought it. I was young and didn’t really overstand why this kid beat me up. I think it was because his girlfriend was my neighbor and we used to talk. We were friends and nothing more. Being that young it was easy to forgive. I basically forgot about it and never revisited the situation. Still to this day, it does not bother me. I always looked at that specific situation as a typical bully beating up on smaller kids. Nevertheless, I forgave him. I joined the military at the age of 18. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t have any other tools in my bag. I wasn’t prepared for anything else. When I say “prepared” I mean it in a educational sense not physical. In my opinion, the military is very mind-numbing. It was as simple as it gets. Follow orders and constantly get ingrained in our heads that we are “warriors”. I was in the Marine Corps, so you can only imagine the kind of things ingrained in us. Most of the lower ranking kids were just that, kids; not even nineteen years old. We were impressionable and I feel like the military takes advantage of that fact. We would do running cadences with words and phrases such as “what makes the grass grow...blood makes the grass grow”. Thinking of it now, It was barbaric. I can’t imagine speaking like that anymore. I was deployed overseas to a foreign country and I cannot actually recall if anyone said “they are the enemy” but it was suggested over and over. Unbeknownst to me, hate was being instilled in me. It may not of been intentional, but if it looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. There was a clear divide in humanity between two countries. I came back home safely and then shortly after, I was deployed for a second time. If hate was not in my heart the first time, it was definitely there the second time. This is a shaping event in my adulthood that would have an impact in my life. My brother was also in the military and he was killed in action fighting the war. My hate grew until I was consumed by hate. I couldn’t be helped. I was broken, lost in hate. My family was destroyed and I was lost. I had nothing. I was alone. Somebody please help me...I needed help. I was angry, so angry that I began to hate. I hated myself so much that I became reckless. I was angry that I was used as a tool to be a part of an agenda. I was used. I would attempt to find solace at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. I drank my pain away. It soothed my anger, pain, and hatred for a bit. I needed to change, no one could help me. Only I could help myself. I picked myself up and forgave myself. I didn’t heal until I truly forgave myself. I forgave myself. I can heal. I love myself. I can heal. Once I forgave myself, my anger began to dissipate. I emptied my bottle of water that was full of hatred and I began filling it with love. I am healed.