By Kathy Monnin
In a recent dream I was speaking with a man who was telling me every unkind thing anyone had ever done. No matter what was mentioned it made its way back to a name and then to all their misdeeds. It was an agonizing dream for a couple of reasons. First, because people were reduced to their transgressions, regardless of any good they had done and second, because it meant he knew all my transgressions, too. Although he did not verbalize my violations, they surfaced one by one within my thoughts. I felt embarrassment and shame.
He explained that he was only reading my heart and that these people and the harm they caused had long been forgiven. They had long ago atoned for all the injury they had placed upon family, friends, society, and/or myself, and that I had judged them harshly with no chance of forgiveness. He told me everyone had received clemency. But my own forgiveness rested upon my first forgiving everyone who had hurt, disappointed, deceived and betrayed me. If I withheld forgiveness to others, I hurt only myself. He offered me a chance for a new beginning with only one stipulation. To forgive those who trespassed against me.
How many times have we wanted a second chance, wished for a do over, or longed for a fresh start? We might have caught ourselves saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” Consider our wish granted. It is not easy to forget, let alone forgive painful experiences, because we carry them with us. Those memories become a part of who we are by how we handle them. We can stagnate or we can learn and grow. So, if we have allowed ourselves to be victimized by past heartaches it is time to free ourselves and accept the wisdom it bestows.
The next time a painful memory surfaces, reflect on it. We should use our good sense to understand and appreciate it better; acknowledging that we have survived and grown through the experience. As we reflect, we may discover we have done something equally harmful to another. Mentally ask their forgiveness and forgive yourself and others. No one said it was easy, in fact, this is what was meant in Matthew 18:21.
Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a brother, “as many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “not seven times but seventy-seven times.” This was another way of saying that we should forgive as often as needed. At first, we might think we are told to forgive the person for each offense which could be innumerable, but it also means we forgive them what is difficult every time we are reminded of that injustice. In other words, we may never forget the incident or the pain the person caused us, but each time our pain resurfaces we must again forgive.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean our perpetrator will change their behavior, but we must focus on our new beginnings, which cannot be done if we continue to live in the past or as a victim. By accepting “what was done is done” we can obtain inner peace and healing. Never be a prisoner of your past. It was a lesson not a life sentence.
If ever you encounter a person that recalls all the mistakes others made, don’t let them get under your skin, instead let it be a reminder to let go of the past, live in the present and look to the future.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes
“Life always offers you a second chance. It’s called tomorrow.” ~ Dylan Thomas
“The weak cannot forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~Paul Boese
Friday, July 22, Oktoberfest with the Klaberheads at the Versailles Heritage Park at 7 p.m. Lawn seating. Bring a chair or blanket. Food and drink will be available by the Towne & Country Players.
Sunday, July 24, Victims of Love, (a Seattle based band playing Eagles music), at 7 p.m. at the Amphitheater in Fort Recovery.
Sunday, July 24, Ice Cream Social at the Versailles Museum from 1–4 p.m.
Sunday, July 24, Webster United Methodist Church (8849 Seibt Road) holds their Ice Cream Social from 4:30–7 p.m., which includes sandwiches, noodles, soups, pies, cakes, beverage in addition to many flavors of ice cream.
Sunday, July 24, Versailles Community Pool Party from 5–8 p.m. Admission is $1 for pass holders and $2 for non-pass holders. Adults get in free. This should be a fun night for family and friends.
Monday, July 25, Memory Lane (Senior Citizen) Dance held at the Greenville VFW from 1-3:30 p.m. Open to the public, with music by Tom Everhart. Admission is $5 at the door.
Wednesday, July 27, Breakfast at the Wooden Spoon from 9–10:45 a.m. for anyone that wants to join in with my widowed women and men friends. (Singles are welcome).
Thursday, July 27, Card Night with Fred downstairs in the Versailles Vets Club Bunker beginning at 7 p.m. Open to the Public.
Thursday, July 28, Versailles Community Garage Sale with 76 participating locations. Each homeowner has their own sale hours. Obtain a map and detailed listing on Facebook or at the Versailles Utility Office, Worch Library or Johns’ IGA.
Friday, July 29, the Versailles Community Garage Sales continue.
Friday, July 29, Tacos, Salads, Walking Tacos at the Ansonia American Legion from 5–7 p.m. Dine in or Carry Out. Open to the Public.
Friday, July 29, the Kim Kelly Orchestra, and the T&CP Community Choir at the Versailles Heritage Park at 7 p.m. Lawn seating. Bring a chair or blanket. Food and drink will be available by the Towne & Country Players. This is the last event of the season.
July 30, Breast Cancer Awareness 5K downtown Greenville at Annie Oakley Memorial Park at 8:30 a.m. With post-race refreshments, door prizes, silent auction, and a free car give-a-way from Dave Knapp. Register online at www.goodtimesraces.com
July 31, Sheepshead Cards in the Versailles Vets Club Bunker beginning at 7 p.m. Open to the Public.
Sunday, July 31, Liverpool Lads, (a Beatles tribute artist band from northeast Ohio) at 7 p.m. at the Amphitheater in Fort Recovery
Happy 95th birthday to Mary Buxton and birthday wishes to Michelle McClure, Cindy Eilerman, Lisa Berning, Diane Schrader, Judy Pepple, Emily Barton, Sheila Christian, Denise Good, Marshall Gard, Bill Barga, Todd Francis, Melissa Fraley, Clinton Randall, Nicole Paulus, Jane Smith, Carole Grilliot Simmons, Mark Bixler, Toots Bowers, Bob Lennartz, Lisa Voisard, Florence Neargardner, Dave Francis, Gary Pierron, Mallory Kissel, Dr. Jennifer Rawlins, Kim Klipstine, Marilyn Swallow, Rose Lawrence, Beth Bell, Karyl Woolery, Paul Bruey, Kim Ward, Sharie Francis, Barb Condon, Janet Keyser, Todd Richhart, Karen Herndon and those I missed. Happy anniversary to Holly and Brad Holzapfel (19), Karen and Dave Friar (22), Lynn and Tim Blakeley (28), Debbie and Jim Groff (28), Lisa and Don Berning (32), Connie and Jeff Stammen (44), and Barb and John Berger (66).
Please extend your sympathy to the family and friends of Nick Smith (62), David Homan (68), Jerome Barhorst (77), Bernard “Denny” Saintignon (82), Chester “Harry” Gorrell (83), Earl Gigandet (90), Anna Bergman (93), and all those who have passed, especially those whose anniversary of their passing nears. Please give your prayers of comfort and healing for the sick, those who struggle, the suffering, the caregivers and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.
As an act of kindness forgive the person who has hurt you. They may never know the gift you have given them, but you most certainly will experience the gift you have been given through your forgiveness.