The Simple Complication of Forgiveness

Definition of FORGIVENESS

: the act of forgiving

Definition of FORGIVING

1: willing or able to forgive
2: allowing room for error or weakness

Definition of FORGIVE

1
a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgivean insult>

b : to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>

2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon<forgive one’s enemies>
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For those seeking forgiveness it can be humbling. Having to swallow your pride, admit you have done wrong and ask that someone you know, maybe even love, can find it within them to pardon you from the wrong you have caused. The wrong may have been small, you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from work, now your spouse has nothing to wear tomorrow. You may have seriously wronged another, ran over their cat with your car, spread a rumor you thought was true but ended  up not. Said something hurtful during a disagreement and now wish you could take it back. But if forgiveness is granted, a weight is lifted, a spirit renewed, a heart mended and all seems right in the world again.

For those having to forgive for being wronged it can be like acid burning you from the inside.  If it was a small indiscretion, your child disrespected you, you may be angry for an hour and then  discuss with your child why you are upset and forgive them. But what if it was a larger wrong?  You find your car has been broke into and it ends up being the neighbor kid. A co-worker sets you up to try and get you fired. A family member cheats you out of something, a significant other lies to you. Anger, resentment, justification, maybe even revenge flood you.

When it’s a neighbor, a co-worker, or stranger it may seem easier to hold on to that resentment, let it burn good deep down. Why not hold on to it? You can easily avoid the person that wronged you, never really giving them the chance to seek forgiveness from you. You can continue to feel justified in your anger, “well they don’t deserve to be forgiven, I’m fine cutting them out of my life, good riddance”. What if it was a good friend, maybe they told a story about you that wasn’t exactly true and painted you in a poor light. Maybe you sister borrowed something special from you and accidentally broke it. It may be a little more difficult to cut them out of your life. So you have to decide if forgiveness is possible, and how long do you need to be angry before you can utter the words “I forgive you”.

What happens when it’s your significant other, and they have truly wronged you and now you face them everyday? Seeking forgiveness and granting forgiveness now becomes not just a person/person issue it becomes a family issue, especially if children are part of the family.

The definition above states that to forgive you have to “cease feeling resentment towards the offender”….that really is easier said than done in so many people’s lives. Stating that you forgive someone but still harboring resentment is not by definition forgiving at all. How can we embrace love in our heart if there is resentment of any kind taking up space? Oh but you say, “I just can’t forgive now, I may never be able to forgive them”. True, you may be hurting. You may feel betrayed, embarrassed or taken advantage of. It could very well be true that right now, where you stand you are not able to forgive the one who has wronged you.

God tells us in the Bible that we should turn the other cheek, forgive seventy times seven times. That sounds pretty challenging to me today as I struggle to find a way to forgive someone who has wronged me. As though I am weak if I let it go. As though granting them forgiveness will make what they have done less offensive. But when I look up these two passages in the Bible that reference forgiveness there are no stipulations. God doesn’t say “you can hold off and forgive when you feel justified” or “this only applies to minor offenses and wrongs but feel free to harbor anger if it was a major wrong”. No he just says forgive those who have wronged you, period.

I hear what God’s saying. My human nature and emotions are rebelling against his words though. They are telling me to be angry, hold onto it and make the offender suffer right along with me, after all they should have to feel some of the pain I do. The world tells me to give up and walk away, turn my back and I will be justified in these actions, I deserve better than the way I have been treated. But maybe that’s why the world has gone so far in the wrong direction. Because we choose to let anger and resentment fill the space in our hearts, instead of washing our hands clean, forgiving those who humbly seek to be forgiven and replacing the space in our hearts with hope, peace and love.

Today I’m also thinking about those who lost love ones on September 11th 2001. I wonder how they feel 11 years later? How many of them have been able to forgive the terrorists and how many still suffer with anger and resentment everyday. When I think about the horrid tragedy of the day, and the pain as a human and American I felt, it kind of makes my anger and forgiveness issue seem insignificant. Could I manage to forgive a stranger that took the life of one of my loved ones? To be honest I’m not really sure if I could or not, but as a Christian I should be able to say “yes without a doubt I could forgive”.

Forgiveness is an ongoing challenge for me and for many others. You may be reading this blog feeling the same way I am over something someone has done to you recently or long ago. It’s a battle I seem to keep on fighting to do what’s right, but fail miserably so many times. Today as I reflect on my personal struggle, and the Nations loss I will make a commitment to deal with my lack of forgiving, to seek the wisdom of God and try to work through this struggle.

It certainly does help that my therapist had a last-minute cancellation today 🙂

I leave my kind readers with the song lyrics from Matthew West song Forgiveness

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just to real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness
Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

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About Little Mom BIG World

I am a mother of 2, business owner and all around juggler of the daily chaos of life. DISCLAIMER: I am an expert on nothing, I'm just a mom here to blog about real life. If you share the same opinions and likes, WONDERFUL we will be great blogger friends! However if you do not share the same opinions I will like you as well as long as you are respectful in your differing opinions :) ALSO I am a mom so I reference motherhood in my blog, if you are a single dad or stay at home dad just replace MOM with DAD while you read and it all applies to you as well!
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