Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is the sucky and beautiful part...

Forgiveness sucks.

Honestly.  It sucks so bad.

I used to think that forgiveness was like a cleanse.  That you could say the words, "I forgive you" and all the pain and hurt would be washed out of your body and you'd start smelling roses everywhere you went and your life would be one big ray of sunshine.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but about a year into marriage I learned a really important lesson.

Forgiveness hurts.

It sucks.  And saying those words doesn't take the hurt away.

Forgiveness doesn't make you feel proud.  Or holy.  Or better than anyone else.  It's not an immediate fix.  Or an incentive for change.

It just hurts.  It feels a lot like admitting you're wrong.  And I hate admitting I'm wrong.

Especially when I'm not wrong.

Last week I was struggling to forgive someone.  I won't say who, but if I gave you one guess, you'd probably be right.

I was sitting on the toilet (with the lid closed people!) watching the kids splash away in the bath when I pulled out my phone and opened my bible app.

I don't know why I do this.  It's like, I'm sure every time that I'll open it up and hear just what I want to hear.  That I was wronged and God is on my side.  That I am right and everyone else is super duper wrong.

Instead I heard this.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will  not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

Doesn't anyone care how right I am?!

So as much as I didn't want to, I gritted my teeth and said these words.

I don't want to forgive, please don't make me forgive... but God, help me forgive.

Because I learned something else, back when I realized how bad forgiveness sucked.

I learned that if it hurts.  If it really hurts.  You're probably doing it right.

I realize I'm a bit slow to life lessons.  But it turns out, forgiveness is not meant to be easy.  And the harder it is.  The more it hurts.  The more beautiful.

Because I think it's there, in the deep hurt, where the beauty is found.  Not after, when the ache starts to lessen.  When the tears dry up.  But in that moment.

It's the hardest moment.  But the best.  Because you know it will all be different after that.

Hard different.  Not happy, glittery different.  The kind of different where you hold out forgiveness, with a shaky hand, over and over again, even when you absolutely cannot forget.  Even when the hurt hovers over you and crushes you at times, you keep holding out that shaky hand.

That hurt in your heart, though, it's a lot like dough being kneaded.  At first it's so tough and the kneading is painful.  But it gets softer, and easier.

And I realize that forgiveness is not like a cleanse.  Where the anger and pain are washed right out of me.  It's like a dough.  And the hurt is kneaded and worked until it changes into something else.  Until it softens and and grows and turns into something unrecognizable.  Something that doesn't make any sense.  But something, nonetheless, that looks a lot like love.

It's not gone.  The hurt.  It's changed.  Transformed.

It hasn't been an easy lesson, but I'm starting to learn that I don't have to wait until the hurt's gone.  To forgive.  That I don't have to wait until all my points are made and heard and an acceptable apology extended.

I talk about it, yes.  And explain why I'm hurt, for sure.  But I'm trying to stop waiting for the perfect response.  For the I was wrong's and You were right's.

I'm learning to forgive now.

And then again.  A few minutes later.  And tomorrow and the next day.  Seven times, if I have to.  Or seventy times seven, if I must.

And if I miss one time.  Or twenty.  If I just can't hold that shaky hand out anymore.  I'll forgive myself.

It can be so hard.  To forgive.  To let go.

But I'm beginning to realize it's even harder to hold on.


  1. Deep thoughts...made me examine my ability to forgive.

    1. It's so hard! I have a really hard time both saying I'm sorry and I forgive you. Joel can attest to both:)