Saturday, July 13, 2013

You Hold the Power

Music is a powerful tool.  I've always been a huge music fan, so much so, that for a while I wanted to be a radio DJ.  I love every kind of music and have over 20,000 songs on my iPod.  I believe music holds the power to change lives, move you to laughter, or move you to tears, to break your heart, to make you smile, to brighten your day.  Music is such a powerful tool.  On my drive home today from yet another conference a song came across my iPod.  A song I have heard many times before, but today just hit me square between my eyes.  The song is called "Forgiveness" by Matthew West (you can watch the lyric video below).  And this song is what has inspired my post today.


Forgiveness.  Such a difficult concept and idea, but one that holds so much power.  We've all been hurt by someone, and in the same way we've all hurt someone.  And when we're hurt our natural instinct is to be angry, cry, or retaliate.  And where does that get us?  Absolutely no where.  In fact, it's in those moments when we're most hurt that we cause the most damage.

We were hurt, so we want that person that hurt us to hurt as well.  And even as an educator, it's not always the other adults in our lives that hurt us....sometimes it's our students!  But when we hold grudges and when we hold onto that hurt we're doing no good for anyone.

Holding onto pain only allows things to get worse.  Even though sometimes it is beyond comprehension, I truly believe that the greatest power we hold is the power to forgive someone.  The power to tell someone, "You hurt me, but I'm going to CHOOSE to forgive you".  It doesn't mean we have to forget what happened, but it means that we're not going to let that pain that we were caused control our actions.

And yes, forgiveness is a choice, but for me it's one of those extremely difficult choices.  In the same vain I know that I have hurt others in my life.  And when those people I've hurt have forgiven me and allowed our relationship to rebuild, it's powerful. And you know what?  Sometimes I've hurt someone or been hurt so bad, that even after forgiving them or being forgiven, the relationship cannot be rebuilt, and that's just a consequence of the actions that took place.

Every single one of us makes mistakes.  That's not any kind of excuse for poor choices or poor behavior, but I say it to remind each of us that how dare we choose NOT to forgive someone.  When did we become the perfect person who never makes a mistake?  I know that I continually make mistakes and do things I regret.  But I also know that I am not the person to judge someone else.  I am not perfect.

And even in writing this post, I know there are still some people in my life that I need to forgive for hurting me.  I also know there are people in my life that I need to go and ask forgiveness from, because I know I hurt them.  And it's difficult.....but it's necessary.

Even as an educator we have to forgive daily.  Our students make all kinds of mistakes and it's our job to start each day brand new with each of our students.  I don't ever listen to the stories of my students from their teacher from the year before.  I don't want to be judged on my past mistakes, and so I am going to choose not to judge my students and to allow them a fresh start when they come into my class, and my students know that, and I think it makes all the difference.

So I write this post to encourage you to forgive someone who has hurt you, or even more so seek out someone you know you've hurt and ask them for forgiveness.  It's so very hard, but forgiving someone can heal so much pain.  I also encourage you, if you feel so lead, to share your story below.  Your story of you forgiving someone or having to ask forgiveness.

"Forgiveness"

Written and Performed by Matthew West

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness
Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me