Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On Forgiving and Forgetting...

Although it is hard to lay the issues aside and forgive the person in a major upset, I think it can be done, even if the person doesn't acknowledge that they hurt you. Accepting the preson's behavior and acknowledging that you are hurt by it is a step toward forgiveness. I think when we sometimes think that when we forgive someone we are automatically supposed to be happy and balance is restored to our universe. Oh no. That's not the case at all.

We have to look at the true meaning of forgiveness. My buddy Webster defines forgiveness this way:
1. To excuse for a fault or an offense; pardon.
2. To renounce anger or resentment against.
3. To absolve from payment of (a debt, for example).

Excusing or pardoning someone for a major issue is out for me. I just cannot do it. That has to be left up to God. I can handle renouncing the anger and resentment, but only after a period of time. When someone hurts you, you cannot, or at least *I* cannot say, "No hard feelings over the breaking of our vows, dear. The papers are in the mail and I'll see you around." I can't live a happily ever after life after I have been just hurt to the core for a period of time. It takes lots and lots of prayer and attitude adjusting. Eventually I am able to let go of the anger and resentment others inflict on me because that anger and resentment eat me up.

The third definition, absolving from payment of (a debt, for example) comes easier to me. I think about what God did for me with Jesus and it's pretty easy to let go of that need to make someone who has apologized a million times over squirm under my, "I just cannot believe you did this to me!" thumb.

Forgetting........oh my. I just don't think we have the capacity to do that. God does, though. He can help us let it sting a little bit less as time goes by, until eventually we are okay with things.

My dad ripped our family wide open through alcoholism. It took me a long time to get over the resentment of it and to be able to say, "You know what, Daddy? I forgive you." He never asked for my forgiveness because he openly will not acknowledge that he is the one who is responsible for living by himself now. My mother took it for years and years, 30 something, to be exact, and she finally got out of Dodge. I don't make Da Chief (daddy) fight for my love and affection or kind words or phone calls, but I haven't forgotten what happened. It's more like I am at peace with it now because I made a decision to adopt the attitude, "It is what it is." I'm okay with that.