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.
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.
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?