Maybe I am all alone on this one but I am throwing whatever comes from my mind out here to be seen, read, or whatever else comes of it. Forgiveness. “I forgive you”. “You are forgiven”. Writing those words down, typing those words on the keyboard, it’s not so hard to do really. Here’s where views may differ though. Have I really been the forgiver? My words suggest that I have been but forgiveness is far more than uttering the words. My mind struggles. The childish, mean, ignorant, stubborn, competitive side says, no, maybe I won’t forgive you, but rather I’ll use this mistake as fuel anytime I feel like gaining control, or even to offset something I have done. The logical, thoughtful, softer, caring, nurturing, loving side says, yes, I forgive you because I am not perfect either and I trust you to live up to the renewed faith I have in your actions forthcoming. Dare I say, the devil made me do it thought process that may have provoked the mistake in the first place is no less important than the thoughtful reaction we choose when a mistake is made that hurts us.
I don’t know if I am right or if I am wrong, but when I have been sinned against and hold the keys which allow for forgiveness or not, I think of two things primarily. One, what authority do I have over another human being who is just as perfect as I am, which is to say none of us are perfect and expecting perfection is not realistic nor rightfully can be expected. Two, the Bible tells us to forgive our trespasses. I generally default to the second thought if I cannot get out of my own stubborn, hurt, often ignorant way.
Two other things that come into play are as follows. One, I would rather have someone actually ask for forgiveness and that’s how I try to teach my kids. If we are the wrong doer and we show remorse, bow our head in defeat of evil over good, and show some backbone by asking to be forgiven which also means we fully understand that we have wronged someone, that goes a long way toward the hope of being forgiven. Two, I have a terrible memory on a lot of things, and even things that hurt bad, sting a lot, but don’t kill me, I am liable to forget (over a long period of self-brooding, inner struggle, and holding on to things I probably shouldn’t) the whole thing and never even offer forgiveness. I am pretty sure I have forgotten numerous things that I mentally may have forgiven, or not, but never let the offending party know. For that I feel badly, because I know how easy it is to take a mental, visual, and emotional picture of an instant, a single point in time and just freeze it there for future, and constant consideration only to leave the offending party wondering where they stand and missing an opportunity to be the example that we all wish there were more of in everyday life.
I have written in this blog about forgiveness, about being sorry, and many lessons, but I am certain there are places I need to re-visit and ask for forgiveness. I honestly don’t know how many, to whom, or even when, but I know there are offended out there. I do ask you for your forgiveness. And even if you’ve already forgiven me and moved on, I feel badly that I didn’t handle the reconciliation better than I did. I continue to grow, to learn, and, to unfortunately make mistakes. Thank you Lord for sending your Son to die on the cross and for bearing the weight of all of our sins.
So, back to the words, “I forgive you”. I have uttered the words, we talked, it’s been verbally forgiven, and both parties think things are good, although perhaps treading is softer and lighter for a bit as any strain or stress on a fine line needs to be tested to make sure all is okay to proceed. Then, over tired, maybe stressed about something else, and a little tug from the face of evil gets me thinking about things I’ve tried to forget, certainly forgiven, but suddenly I am ready again to take up that fight. Wrong! If this is where I go, then I should not have offered the forgiveness in the first place because I have abused the power inherant in me as a being created in His image and both let someone off of the hook and then speared them again just because I felt like it. That is wrong. That is not how this works. Imagine God meeting us at the throne and saying, “You know, I’ve been thinking and I want to hold this over your head for a little longer, Access denied”. This leads me back to an earlier point as to why I spend so much time thinking on these things in the first place. Another reason is because I do not want to struggle with the thought of forgiveness; forgive; and then let myself and everyone else down because I never let go of the feeling in the first place. Maybe because I am weird, different, or for some other explanation, I tend to think on the things that hurt me and the pains that I feel in order to feel things fully. I try to understand where it came from and how, or why. Ultimately I try to understand how another would feel if I did the same unto them, again remembering, we are all imperfect. I like the simplistic but all-telling definitions of the word forgive offered by Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. I have included some of them here: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong): to stop blaming (someone): to stop feeling anger about (something): to stop requiring payment of. This last one could encompass a lot of different tenders I suppose, but forgiving is stopping the requirement that we alone impose on payment being made. Period, done, over, move on.