I’m thinking about forgiveness tonight. How do we forgive if we don’t want to? If our wills are so set against the other person that we can’t imagine a relationship with the person?
I have a rather strong will and a good imagination. I can’t (pronounced "caint" down heah) figure out a way to forgive.
I’m not proud of this. I’m humiliated by it. I am ashamed.
If forgiveness means setting the past behind us so that we can go forward into a new relationship, I don’t know how to do this.
If forgiveness means loving the person despite the damage they’ve done, I don’t know how to do this.
If forgiveness means being able to sit before God and know that I’ve forgiven as I have been forgiven, I’m lost.
As far as I am able to determine about myself, I can forgive. I’ve moved on from wounded moments to continue relationships and found good things in the future. I’ve been forgiven many times by those I love so that the relationships which mean so much to me can grow forward.
But, deep in heart, when I stand to pray with my congregation the Prayer of Confession then offer the Assurance of Pardon, I know that I do not forgive a family member. I wish this were not so.
I have asked God to help me forgive this person. I continue to pray for her.
I try to imagine having a relationship with her and I am repulsed by the idea.
I don’t have to spend time with her or see her often. I’m not sure this helps the situation.
I’ve been given a tiny opportunity to move toward her but don’t trust her enough to do it as yet.
I may never do it.
It’s not enough to hear that it is a "toxic relationship" and that I should just move on.
It’s for these hard-as-hell relationships that Jesus told us to forgive. The easy situations to forgive don’t count for much more than good manners. The entrenched wretchedness of an unforgiving heart is the ideal candidate for the love of Christ to heal.
If I told you the circumstances of this broken relationship, you’d understand that I am being and have been, tested mightily. Big time misery.
I don’t want to be let off the hook because of the other person’s awfulness. What difference does that make? My lack of forgiveness weighs on my heart because I know it is not right. It is not who I want to be.