Saturday, January 9, 2010

Until it Doesn't Hurt Anymore

After writing yesterday's blog on saying "I'm sorry", a quote on forgiveness came to the conscious ramblings of my mind and slapped me across the face, leaving my ego a little bruised and my spirit convicted.  See I am  pretty good at saying "I am sorry", and meaning it but I've come to  realize, that while I am adept at asking for forgiveness I am not as good as I thought at offering forgiveness.

I always thought forgiveness was easy for me. I consider myself a pretty grace filled person, turn the other cheek, let bygones be bygones and all.  Though it may take me a little time to process the initial blow, I typically let it go and move on.  However what I have come to discover is that true forgiveness is not easy for most.

I like others, have experienced situations in my life that have left me hurt, broken, damaged and angry.  Yet in the end all my heart really wanted to do is forgive, to have the situations and relationships reconciled in some small way. Yet sometimes people make forgiveness very difficult.  Like the person who continues in the same behaviours that they have asked you to forgive.  Or harder yet people who are blind to the hurt and damage they are causing and can't even recognize their need for forgiveness despite concerted efforts to open their eyes?

It was the following quote, that made me realize, I may not be as good at forgiveness as I thought. "Forgive until it does not hurt anymore?"  That quote hit me like a freight train  There have been times that I wanted to forgive someone, said I forgave them and believed that I had, but then would find myself in situations with them, or conversations about them and anger or hurt would be welling up inside. Though there would be a smile on my face, I would be reliving the hurt of past situations and their present  iniquities would be doubled in intensity.  My mouth had spoken forgiveness, and perhaps I thought I had resolved it in my mind, but in truth I was living with a spirit of unforgiveness.

Even as I write this I can think of individuals that I thought I had forgiven in my heart, but know all to well, that I haven't. I know I haven't because I subconsciously and sometimes consciously act differently towards them.  Bitter sentiments spu from my mouth. I harbour the hurts of the past.  I still feel the pain.  I want to forgive, but it seems sometimes easier, to sit in the pain and anger, especially when you are not getting the response who had hoped for from the the person who has hurt you.  Forgiveness however does not require anything on the part of the individual, who has hurt us, it would be ideal for restoration but not necessary for forgiveness. Forgiveness as most of us know is as much, if not more for ourselves as it is for the other person. Every time we relive the situations and pain of the past, we make the pain deeper. But every time we release it, the pain gets weaker in our life.

So I am going to commit, God helping me, to forgive until it does not hurt anymore.  Every time I remember how they have hurt me, I am going to let it go. It's going to be a constant process until it does not hurt anymore.  I believe this is in part what Jesus meant when Peter asked him "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?" and His response was "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven times." ~Matthew 18:21-211.  Or in other words, we just keep forgiving.  I may have to forgive a thousand times before it is a reality. But every time the pain comes to mind I will give it to God,  allowing him to be the impartial judge. I will let them off the hook and give up my demands. I will treat them as though it never happened.  I will not deny that it happened, but will admit it and move past it, for their sake and mine, to the glory of God.  Once again easier said than done...I'll keep ya posted :D

This is the essence of forgiveness—cancelling every demand, giving up the right to seek any kind of revenge, blatant or subtle, overt or covert. That is what God does for us, and that is what He wants us to do for others.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. ~Ephesians 4:32

I think that in getting to a place of true forgiveness, we find we can forgive ourselves and experience in greater part the fullness of the forgiveness of God.

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