Tall grass Growing in field in late Autumn

Character Development

The development of our character begins at a very young age. Through interactions with caregivers, siblings, or even friends, these significant relationships teach us how to treat others through finding out how we want to be treated ourselves. Through each stage of life our character continually develops and grows as we face decisions and situations that form and shape who we will become. Although positive experiences with family and friends help us to form our relationship attachments, it is the negative experiences that we are faced with that influence our character development more than anything else.

From the time we are young, we are exposed to situations that we feel are unfair, discriminatory and make us feel unworthy of love. Whether that pain is inflicted by our immediate family, close friends, or the surrounding community, the pain that we experience is often correlative to the level by which we are impacted by their actions. Often, we are most damaged and pained by the wounds that people closest to us inflict. Whether those hurts are committed by accident or on purpose, they still hurt all the same and force us to make a choice. Will we forgive and let go, or will we hold onto the hurt?

When looking at these instances from afar, we like to believe that we would always forgive and move forward, knowing deep in our hearts that it is the right thing to do. However, once we are placed in these situations, it becomes much more difficult. Forgiveness is one of the most challenging things that God asks us to do, and that’s why it’s important to remember that He forgave us first. He is here to help us through it! God knows the deep pain that we feel when others hurt us– and how difficult it can be to let go of that pain and forgive those that have wronged us. And yet, despite the fact that God knows and understands intimately our pain, He also understands just as deeply our need to forgive. The freedom that comes from the ability to forgive those that have hurt us is unlike any other. God reminds us often that it is not worth it to carry around weight we don’t need to- life is heavy enough as it is. We shouldn’t hold onto pain that is no longer serving us. Forgiving and letting go feels much better.

Prayer gives us an opportunity to connect to the most graceful, loving, and empathetic source of love. Through prayer, we can work with God to unburden our hearts as we meditate on all the ways that God has forgiven us without resentment and loved us, despite all our flaws. It is important to remember that this does not mean that we continue to be treated poorly. We still create boundaries and protect ourselves, but it means we no longer have to carry that hurt. We are released of the burden of resentment as we hand it over to God, knowing that He can always do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We can rest easy in the constant presence of God, knowing that He is encouraging and supporting us as we do hard things, forgive difficult people, and find joy as we shape our character alongside Him.

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