As I type this blog the stirring, bass-driven words to an old negro spiritual “Let My People Go” sang by many, but very eloquently by Paul Robeson looms in my mind. It’s a commanding chorus of words which are Biblically-based orders out of the book of Exodus from God to Pharaoh via Moses to let His people the Israelites go. That’s it, simple and plain. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to “let my people go.”
As I was walking into work this morning enjoying the crisp Alabama fall air, with a bit of a breeze still seeping through the last of the open-toe shoes I’m determined to wear I could feel God say to me “let my people go”. Having an internal conversation with myself (actually the God in me) I started down a litany of questions and comments…Hold up. What? Huh? Who Me? What do you mean? I’m not Pharaoh. I’m Angela. I’m your girl. I love you. Let who go? They’re gone and I’m gone past it. Are you sure you mean me? And just as gingerly and genteel as always I felt an overwhelming “yep” rise up within me.
Here’s what I know about forgiveness. It’s a blessing for the person who forgives. It’s also a blessing for the person who has been forgiven. Often times the best forgiveness comes without an apology. So if you’re waiting on an “I’m sorry” before forgiving then don’t hold your breath. Sometimes, however, the absolute BEST forgiveness comes with a simple and sincere “I forgive you” from the person who was offended to the one who committed the offense.
I’ve gotten into enough spiritual trouble over the years holding on to unforgiveness. It will tear a person apart if they allow. I recognize the spirit of unforgiveness as being one of the weapons the enemy has used against my bloodline for decades so when finding myself heading down that same path I pursued a different route. I forgive, and try to do it as quickly as the healing process allows. The Pharaoh-like, human part of me however, had a way of knowing I’d forgiven, but a sly way of not letting those I’d forgiven know the same, which could easily lead to the thought that I still held something against them. (It’s wacky. I know.) It would cost me nothing to say “I forgive you” and return to the business at hand, but that wasn’t something I’d often thought to do.
So the “let my people go” that I got made me do a quick reflection to see if there were any who might have thought still that I was holding my pain and our past against them. Of course the answer was “yep”. So I’m on a mission to let them know. I started today. I don’t know that any of them cared about or carried the burden of wondering if they’d been forgiven. I don’t know if they are even aware of the matters. I don’t know that there is an expected response I desire. I just want to do my part just in case someone thinks I’m holding something against them. Not that my revelation would change their life, repair what was damaged (because it’s already healed) or open the floodgates of blessings immediately, but it sure is nice when I know I’m forgiven by God for all of my foolishness. The same is so with man, and it’s certainly so with me. As humans, we deserve to know we’ve been let go.