What does it mean to truly understand?
–It could mean that you are knowledgeable. You understand a certain subject. You know it inside and out. You fully comprehend. You master it and it becomes a skill.
–Or it could mean you are sympathetic and tolerant of someone else’s feelings/emotions. To have the ability to forgive. You are understanding.
What do you understand?
I have a friend whose mother abused him growing up. He was talking to me about it one night and he said he understood why she did it. He was able to empathize with her-his abuser. It completely blew my mind and I was amazed at his ability to fully understand. He talked about how her life must of been like growing up and how he probably reminded her of his father. His father was abusive in many ways and abandoned them before he could even really comprehend that he was his father.
The fact that he allows himself to understand is incredible. Now-this doesn’t mean he accepts it. While he may understand it, he recognizes that it was not right. He knows that he did not deserve that and he allows himself to understand his personal worth. He knows that he is a good person and should not be treated that way.
Do we really have what it takes to understand our enemies? Meaning–are we willing to forgive them and to empathize with them? This does not mean to accept your abuse.
But I feel like…forgiveness becomes much easier when you are able to find understanding.
There are people that I have had to forgive and the only ones that I have not held anger towards and constantly had to remind myself to forgive, are the people who I have been able to find understanding in their motives/actions.
For instance-growing up with my brother-who emotionally abused me. I was able to forgive him because I understood where he was coming from. He was angry at our father and the only way he could figure out how to get his anger out was by taking it out on me. I don’t accept this. I know I did not deserve this in any way. However, I understand and feel compassion for him.
Being able to empathize with your enemies and/or abusers takes so much strength. It helps you to heal. I don’t know that everyone deserves to be understood/forgiven but if you are able to do that–you are so full of strength that sometimes it just seems so unbelievable.
What are you willing to understand?