Woe! It’s Wednesday: Forgiveness

Forgiveness does not come naturally. At least to me, it doesn’t.

I’m sure you’re much better at forgiving others than I am.

Portrait of sad child

Although I do seem able to move on sooner than some other people I could mention, but I’m trying to be modest here, so I’m going to focus on my issues with forgiveness.

I know all the usual answers:

  • To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis Smedes
  • Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for other person to die ~ Many attributes but I first heard it from Carrie Fisher
  • To err is human; to forgive, divine. ~ Alexander Pope
  • Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. ~ The Lord’s Prayer

I recently came across one more quote. It stopped me right where I was, reached in my chest, gave my heart a little rub, and then whispered in my ear, “This. This is what you’ve been feeling.”

Here it is:

To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, ‘You have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However, although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what you’ve done, and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.’ ~ Frederick Buechner

I’ve come and read this again and again in the week since I first found it. It still stops me.

So much wisdom.

So much truth.

Detail of a Christmas quilt with scissors

 

My pride doesn’t want me to forgive others. Pride wants me to wrap my grudge around myself like a warm winter quilt.

The only problem is that eventually that quilt gets thin and smelly. Much like a grudge.

It fades until no one else can see the colors and shapes.

“Here.” I point to a faded triangle of red paisley. “This is when you called me a name. And here”–I rub a green rectangle–“here is when someone else spread gossip.” I can go on, identifying each patch in the ratty old quilt. But eventually even I have to admit I’m the only one who cares anymore.

It’s easier to recognize that although I have a “right” to my hurt feelings, the only one being punished is me.

What about you? Does forgiveness come naturally? Or am I the only one who struggles?

 

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2 thoughts on “Woe! It’s Wednesday: Forgiveness

  1. This really speaks to me because, for me, it’s difficult at times to know what forgiveness is. If I think about some of the negative things that I’ve experienced in life, they still hurt me. Even to the point of tears, if I give them the opportunity. And I still get angry with the person or persons who caused me this pain. However, I don’t wish them ill or seek revenge. In fact, I rarely think about them at all. What’s done is done and I have moved on. So, is that forgiveness? I wish I knew. Perhaps that’s what Jesus meant when he said, “Seven times seventy”…?

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