Lessons Learned from Ending Past Relationships and The Struggle to Obtain Forgiveness

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When transitioning into Christianity as an adult by his my own volition, I, unfortunately, was coerced and encouraged into cutting a lot of people off or ghosting them.  I lost contact with family, immediate and extended, and even friends, old and recent.  During the tumultuous time as an early Christian, I had no one to turn too, save the few people that were involved in the church that I attended at the time.  None of us knew each other personally but were “recruited” by this seemingly loving and stable organization.  That organization was called Soul’s Last Stop.  We were all young adults, just starting out in life, all wanting to honestly and earnestly, wholeheartedly, follow the Lord.  It is difficult living in a brand-new environment, where you know no one personally, wondering what the people among you are capable of.

Due to me cutting many people off, during that time, and even subsequently for various reasons, I found myself reconnecting with some of these people.  Family, immediate and extended, is who I reached out to first.  Trying to explain something what you can only compare to the Branch Davidian [1], or the Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple [2], is very difficult when the people you are discussing this with have never experienced this kind of world.  Nevertheless, many of them forgave me.  Others refused to believe my story and often said that I was either gullible, weak-minded, or just crazy.

 

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I later apologize to the friends that I had from my army experience, who I also cut off after joining the organization of Soul’s Last Stop.  They all seemed forgiving.  Some of them were quite hurt that I could do such a thing.  Telling them that I wasn’t in my right mind at the time, and some of them even coming to that realization on their own, wasn’t an easy thing to do.

Over the years, I had begun to realize something.  After having learned a great deal from my past, one thing that stuck out was that not everyone is allowed a second chance.  A second chance isn’t even guaranteed.  No one owes you forgiveness.  While you may even receive that forgiveness, you would be wise to not expect things to pick up where they left off.  I became aware that when you hurt someone, you don’t have a right to be  allowed into their heart, space, or anything concerning them again.  Forgiveness is not to be taken lightly.  One has to learn how to forgive.  One has to also learn how to be forgiven.  Loving someone, trusting someone, automatically causes one to become vulnerable.  It is not an easy thing to be vulnerable.  Especially when your trust and loyalty has been compromised a few times.  We must be careful who we allow into our personal spaces of love and trust and be open to know that we will be hurt at times.  It is how we handle such hurts that will make us better people.

 

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[1] member of an offshoot group of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church that made headlines on February 28, 1993, when its Mount Carmel headquarters near Waco, Texas, was raided by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); four federal agents were killed in the assault. A lengthy standoff between the group and government agents then followed. It ended on April 19, after some 80 members of the group, including their leader David Koresh, died when the Mount Carmel complex was burned to the ground following an attempted entrance by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. (Melton, 2013)

[2] Jim Jones, byname of James Warren Jones (born May 13, 1931, Crete, near Lynn, Indiana, U.S.—died November 18, 1978, Jonestown, Guyana), American cult leader who promised his followers a utopia in the jungles of South America after proclaiming himself messiah of the Peoples Temple, a San Francisco-based evangelist group. He ultimately led his followers into a mass suicide, which left more than 900 dead and came to be known as the Jonestown Massacre (November 18, 1978). (Britannica, 2016)

References

Britannica, T. E. (2016, December 22). Jim Jones. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica : https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jim-Jones
Melton, J. G. (2013, July 29). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from Branch Davidian: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Branch-Davidian

 

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