“HOW DO YOU KNOW when you’ve forgiven someone?” was the question that started it. An hour later we were still looking for the answer.
It was 1998. We sat at a high table at the back of the old Bridgewater Cafe, ate salads and discussed forgiveness.
Then we went our separate ways.
When we met again a year later, it was the same thing. And the year after that, too. No matter where our conversations began, they always wound around to the topic of forgiveness – what it looks like, how you know you’ve truly forgiven, stuff like that.
We kept hashing it out. Maybe it’s one of the reasons we’re friends. We like big, philosophical discussions.
But it wasn’t all philosophical. We each had a forgiveness issue that was personal, one that, if we didn’t desperately and persistently pursue true forgiveness, to not only understand it but also appropriate it, it would swallow us alive . . . because unforgiveness will do just that.
So many questions: Must I pretend nothing ever happened? Where are the boundary lines? If I set boundaries, does that mean I haven’t forgiven the person?
Life keeps providing new opportunities to test our theories, so each year we are back together, comparing notes.
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I FIND MYSELF NOW in the mother of all forgiveness challenges.
The list is long.
Life is short.
And the head sessions with my friend keep coming back.
I don’t plan to carry a bag of rocks around the rest of my life. I’m making progress, but this is no he-stole-my-pencil-oh-here’s-another situation.
Escape appeals to me, so I go looking to see when the next Writers Retreat is. It’s been too long since I fell in a river. 🙂 While looking over the schedule, though, something else pops out at me:
Count. Us. In. Here’s why:
- Because, even after all these years, I’m still chasing this forgiveness thing down.
- Because thinking there’s some other path out of pain is a myth too many of us believe.
- Because calling yourself a Christian and choosing not to pursue forgiveness are two things that don’t go together.
- Because, if I don’t, I’ll never be able to say again The Lord’s Prayer.
“…forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Forgiveness is something worth pursuing, worth figuring out, even if it takes a lifetime. Even if I fail at it, I want at least to be known as someone who went after it.
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