Sitting in church today my pastor asked the question, “What or whom do you need to forgive?” Her question came from the passage about the woman caught in adultery who was about to be killed. Jesus said, “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” And everyone slunk away. Except the woman. She stayed and heard Jesus say, “Your sins are forgiven. Go and don’t sin anymore.”
I thought about forgiveness, uncertain as to whether it was me I needed to forgive or someone else. And then, that woman’s face came to mind. She had “liked” a post I made last week on my business’s Facebook page regarding the second anniversary of my job. As I sat in church, I realized that I hate her. I hate her.
She is the woman my former husband turned to during our turbulent marriage-ending-year; she is the one who slept with him in secret while pretending to support us in our marriage counseling. While she played grandmother to my younger children, gave them gifts and money, she was sleeping with my husband. My husband.
Fuck her. I hate her. I. Hate. Her.
This was a stunning revelation for me. I have forgiven her, forgiven them. It’s been four years since the divorce was final. I have moved on. He has moved on. They have married. I wouldn’t want him back. It’s a done deal.
And yet, when I saw her name and her profile photo “liking” my post – I was disgusted. Angry. I wanted to puke. I wanted to pick up the stone and heave it at her stupid face. I wanted to pick up stone after stone after stone until my anger was sated and my hatred was spent.
I felt she had once again invaded my life, robbed me of my identity, put her hand in where it wasn’t wanted. Will I never be free of her? Will I never have a place where she can’t find me, can’t assert herself, can’t infiltrate is mine, private or public?
Bitch. I hate her.
I paused to take a breath. This hatred is deep. Really deep. I had no idea.
God, I want to be free of her, free of this hatred. I saw myself, bent down, unable to straighten up from the weight of her, the weight of my hatred, the weight of all those stones I wanted to smash into her face and bury her under. I want to be free of the weariness of this burden.
I closed my eyes in church and tried to be holy, tried to forgive. I told God, “I forgive her.” And then, because it’s really important to me to be honest with God, I changed that to, “God, I really hate her.” And I heard God say to me, “I know.”
That simple statement was a game-changer for me. God wasn’t bothered by my hatred born out of loss, wounding, shit, devastation, betrayal. He was bothered that I am so weary in it, weary of the hating. He wanted to take all the stones off my back and set me free. He wanted me to let her go.
I pictured that, pictured the letting go. It was hard. One of my hands still held a rock. The last rock of vengeance, of justification, of knowing that I had been betrayed and shit on and that I was powerless to change it. No more hoping that she was being tortured for shitting on me. No more illusions that I was better than she was, that I was more powerful because I was good and she was the embodiment of Satan. No more. No more.
The last rock was really hard to drop.
So I told God, “OK. I drop the rock. I lift her to you. Not because I feel like it. Let’s make it clear that I still think she’s a bitch. I am not over being betrayed and shit on. My heart is still devastated by her decision to lie and steal and destroy. But I want to be free of her, so I let go of my right to deal with her my way, and I submit to You as the only one who can make this right between her and me.”
I let her go.
God, I know that I will have times when I want to pick up the rocks again. Please don’t let me. Please grab both my hands when that happens and look straight into my eyes and remind me of who I am. I am Yours. I am not the cast-off one, I am not the one left behind. I am Yours. My hands are in Your hands, my eyes are looking into Your eyes. My back is straight and I am tall and strong. I am forgiven and I am loved.