Forgive me, Father.
February 28, 2012 § 3 Comments
I must confess- I have never been a good forgiver.
At least, not a very quick forgiver, anyway.
Now, I’m not talking about the little things. I’m talking about the big hurts…the ones where you end up a tangle of raw emotion and all-consuming-ness.
Starting at a young age, I could only manage a small grumble and terse nod in acknowledgement when someone asked those four words: “Can you forgive me?”
And in that moment between when those Four Words are spoken and when I suddenly become Ebenezer Scrooge, I always manage to have many panicked thoughts.
“Well, yes of course, but then what?”
“I’ve been upset for some time now. I mean, this one was a doosey. How do I flip the switch and exclaim, ‘YES! ABSOLUTELY!’ before grabbing this former opponent of mine by the arm and run through a field of daisies? How?”
“But, if I forgive, where does all the hurt go?”
Enter the grumble and nod, which is all I thought I could manage. [This is usually the point in the situation where I can picture Jesus looking at me like, “really? Really, Natalie? Have I taught you nothing?”]
I remember a Sex and the City episode [bear with me] where the main character and narrator, Carrie (who writes a dating column) is pondering lost loves. She asks the question, “If you love someone and you break up, where does all the love go?”
I had to share how that quote came to mind as I was thinking about forgiveness because a.) I never thought I would quote that show on my blog and b.)it’s the question I found myself asking in the face of those Four Words- where does all the hurt go?
But I think the better question I’m essentially asking is, “what about me?”
That person has reached a place where they can ask that question and somehow I get caught up in what that means for my hard feelings.
Am I the only one?
Maybe I’ve always just really wanted to mean it. I haven’t wanted to fake anything in the moment. I grumbled because, yes, I forgave, but my hurt heart needed to catch up. I needed to wrap my mind around what it really meant to forgive and let it go. Since “forget” traditionally follows forgiveness, I didn’t want to make light of it. I wanted to do it right, not just because I was supposed to.
But really, maybe it’s all pride and a little bit of fear… the traumatized feelings so tightly in their grasp and they only clench tighter at the sound of those Four Words, withholding complete forgiveness until I can issue it in my own time.
Why do I get the feeling that it’s mostly the latter? I hope it’s at least a blend.
I’m still a work in progress on this one, friends. This comes from recently murmering forgiveness and not liking how it felt. I know that God doesn’t murmer forgiveness to me when I mess up ALL THE TIME, so I need to get this straight. It’s not something I’m proud of and I don’t want to be a stiff forgiver, so I’m working on my rebound time. In the meantime, I’m praying my heart out and thankful for grace from the ones I’ve stiffed.