alternatives to forgiveness

>> April 10, 2009

I've been thinking a lot about Sarah's posts on forgiveness and have generally been feeling smug that I don't harbor intense animosity toward anyone...but then I got to thinking... it's not in my personality to seethe for weeks, months and years and fight and confront. My blood doesn't boil for more than 15 minutes. You know what I do instead? I ignore. I write my foes off like they never existed. I de-friend them on facebook (ha ha). When his/her name comes up, I roll my eyes. I'm done. I've moved on. But that's not forgiveness! Walking on the other side of the street is not forgiveness. Ignoring emails and phone calls is not forgiveness. Tolerating is not forgiveness. Fake smiling is not forgiveness.

I feel like I need to make a list of people who've I've decided to feel indifferent about because they did something hurtful, mean or just plain obnoxious. I need to pray over that list (and God knows that in my heart, I don't want to). What do I do with these relationships? Do I have to have a conversation with these people again and ask them to forgive me for the animosity I've felt towards them, the way I've written them off, the things I've said behind their backs? Okay... now I'm gettin' a headache...

And then, here's Easter. It's so appropriate for us to discuss this topic this week, when we are reminded of the Ultimate Forgiver, the One who, through His death on the cross, blotted out or sins forever...and forgot them (not us), removed them from us as far as the East is from the West, hurled them to the bottom of the sea, no longer counted them against us. Forgiven. Free. Saved. Reconciled with God. What grudge in the world, could I/we possibly, legitimately justify holding on to?

What alternatives have you created for forgiveness? What have been the hardest hurdles to forgiveness for you? Share. Anonymously if you want.


Anonymous,  April 10, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

It's become easy for me to drop them or the incident from memory. I know that it's still in my psyche and affects the way I live. Now and again if it comes up in my mind I may think of sending a letter or drop an email but it passes and the farther away time takes me away from it, it's easier for me to put it away.

Anonymous,  April 13, 2009 at 9:25 PM  

For me, it's harder to forgive a person who is clueless about what they did even when you make it clear to them why you ar hurt. it is also hard to forgive someone who thinks everything is your fault. I also have a hard time with people who hurt me deeply and severely and only manage to come up with a quick, generic apology. With the deep hurts, the forgiveness came with time, years. The hurt isn't there anymore. So in that sense, time is like an "alternative" to outright foregiveness.

Anonymous,  April 16, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

I totally agree with the second poster. Some people are clueless or arrogant or just plain evil. You can't change them and it's not your job to do. No matter if you talk to them again or explain what happened. They won't get it!
But just because you forgive, doesn't mean you have to be a door mat and let those people who hurt you walk all over you again and again. There are boundaries that you can create to protect yourself and your family. And that's perfectly fine.

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