While I am quick to forgive an accidental stepping on my toe (but probably not as quickly if you scuffed my shoe), other offenses are not as easily pardoned as the cliche term, “Forgive and forget” suggests.
There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Their actions have caused heartache, pain, turmoil, damage, and abuse to my heart and life. Perhaps most frustrating is that some of them are oblivious to the destruction of their actions. Or they don’t care. Frankly, I’m not sure which is worse.
There’s one perpetrator in particular that comes to mind. When I think of her, my blood begins to boil. I have wished wickedness upon her that I would never want to confess to another human being…or to God, for that matter. Quite simply, I would venture to say that I hate her.
To state the obvious, I have yet to forgive her for her corrupt actions. Honestly, I don’t want to. I would rather loathe her with every ounce of my being. Because she does not deserve the grace. And yet, not forgiving her so heaps no coals on her head. It only hurts myself.
My counselor picked up on this unforgiveness in my obstinate heart a few months ago. (I paid her good money to challenge me, and oh, how she did. Of course she would make me want to go there.)
My counselor challenged me to look at my perpetrator differently. She acted (negatively) out of the nastiness that’s in her heart. She acted out of her own wounds, ones that I can probably relate to. In Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning put it this way, “The heartfelt compassion that hastens forgiveness matures when we discover where our enemy cries.”
Forgiving my enemies is loving them, which is what Christ calls us to do. And when I think of the degree to which Christ has forgiven me, I’m quickly reminded of how undeserving I am of His grace.
Forgiveness is a process. Admittedly, I’m not there yet. In the meantime, I’ll keep praying that someday I can make some progress…that I would not wish on her a slow, painful death. Maybe one day.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”