For most of my life, it’s never been much of a problem for me to forgive people who do bad things to me or just do dumb things in my presence. The kid(s) who laughed at me when I slipped and fell on the ice in 6th grade (There may or may not have actually been upwards of 20 kids who laughed). The kid who touched my hair when I was in the 3rd grade (Dear white people, black people hate that). Ashanti, for “singing” and bombarding my ears with her “music” on the radio and TV (I’m still waiting on an apology from her). The dudes who clowned my frat and me back in college (We may or may not have initiated it with words of our own). The dude who came into a party uninvited and shot several of my friends when we were in college (This one was a problem, but I eventually found a way to forgive him). And most recently, the mystery person who shot my car over the weekend (Yep, you read that correctly).
Forgiveness has rarely been a problem… until this one situation.
The details of the situation are not important to this discussion. What is important is that even though I know the importance of forgiving those that wrong me, I can’t seem to let go!
In this case, forgiving seems to mean that I have to let go of the anger and frustration. I’m cool with that. If that’s all forgiveness is, then I don’t have a problem. As long as I can hold some type of grudge and keep my transgressor at a distance forever–continuing to treat him/her as if he/she were the lowest of the low. I mean, I can forgive and still be a little curt with someone right? Maybe roll my eyes a little when he/she talks?
Here’s the problem with that. Jesus talked with His disciples about forgiveness quite a bit. He talked about how we should learn to forgive as God forgives and that if we can’t find it in our hearts to forgive those that wrong us, He can’t forgive us.
When I read that, I think about all the things I’ve done (that I can remember) to grieve God. I think about those times I was disobedient, those times I was a bad example of a Christian, those times I blatantly chose what felt right at the time over what I actually knew to be right. Through all of that, God forgave me AND embraced me as a son. THAT is the example of forgiveness that we are required to model. That’s tough, but I guess it’s not exactly meant to be easy.
In my situation, I’m nowhere close to reaching that. I’ve got some work to do.
Until next time…