“I forgive you!”
Do you feel better? Do I? Depending on who you talk with, it may be helpful. Then again, it may not. I can promise you this, speaking the word ‘forgive’ is not an all-powerful, seeing the man behind the curtain, soul-renewing process. Who are you mad at? Who wronged you? I dare you to say, “I forgive you.”
No clap of thunder? No angelic music? Still mad? Still hurt?
When you are “wronged” you have been hurt. Hurt drives pain and pain drives anger. However, if you are hurt, and you decide to define the actions of the person who hurt you, there is no reason to re-live the event and feel the emotional pain of the actions that hurt you. You don’t have to emotionally grieve for the way you were wronged. You do not have to hold onto that anger, either.
None of it was your fault!
I define a person by what they show me about themselves. I can’t grant forgiveness. I don’t think it’s up to me, it is up to them and their God. I just don’t think it is my responsibility. I don’t believe I should have to re-live the emotional pain of what they did to me so they can feel better about themselves. To be entirely honest with you, I never forgive anyone. I can move past issues and not dwell on them … but I never forget what the person who hurt me is capable of.
I can hear the wisdom of Oprah, “You are hanging on to the past, to forgive is to allow yourself to heal.” Maybe Oprah is right. I could have this all wrong. But for me, I chose my option.
I have been asked for my forgiveness, I respond with, “There is nothing to forgive.” Because I have put the incident in a file in my file cabinet under your name and that is where it will stay. I can refer back to what you did if I decide to ever trust you again. I will communicate with you and not avoid you, but I will never forget what you are capable of. If there are further altercations, you will not be welcome in my life.
A Fable for you…
There was once a woman who came across a rattlesnake by the river. It was almost frozen to death. She took the rattlesnake home and warmed it by the fire. When it was better, it bit her, and the poison she knew would kill her. She asked the rattlesnake why, after all the care she had given it, did it bite her? The rattlesnake replied, “I am a rattlesnake, that is what I do, I bite.”
Sometimes the people we meet in this world are just rattlesnakes. They bite, that is just what they do.