Sunday, July 22, 2012

Forgiveness

I've not written in quite some time, which always makes it difficult to begin again. As I get older, writing is less and less a friend that allows me to pick up again where we left off. Instead, she makes me work for our reunion. Beautiful, inspiring music, dimmed lighting, late night hours, and a real ignition of that internal flame are all necessary for our meeting. I don't really mind, though. I've been gone for a while and quite frankly, I'd probably take her for granted even more if I didn't have to exert the least bit of effort. I'm not sure exactly what I'd like to write about today.

I've just spent the weekend with family, touring colleges for my cousin, spending some quality time with my little sister, and taking a trip down memory lane with the parents and a few boxes of old photographs. I prayed for a peaceful and loving weekend with everyone, since when we're all together, tensions tend to run pretty high. Thankfully, save for a few minor disagreements, the weekend ran pretty smoothly. Forgiveness seemed to be somewhat of a theme this weekend, including in my car during my ride home on the radio.

A few things I've learned (or been reminded of) include that forgiveness isn't really for the other person; in fact, they don't even really need to be aware of its existence for the power of forgiveness to be realized. In the past, I've traditionally thought of forgiveness the way that a child may think of being forgiven their wrongdoings. It only is relevant and necessary if you've been caught and are asking for it and it only counts if you're aware you're being forgiven.

This doesn't really pan out, though, as time goes on and people part ways or at least stop speaking of the hurt caused because they either don't recall it, don't feel the need to rehash the past, or have been such repeated abusers that discussing any one thing just seems pointless. Either way, the whole formulaic idea of person does wrong, person is made aware of wrongdoing, person asks for forgiveness, person receives forgiveness(also throw in there that person doing the forgiving feels good about themselves for having bestowed such a generous gift onto their transgressor) just isn't that realistic anymore. By the grace of God, I am beginning to see that forgiveness has little to do with any sort of formula that we have any control over or is neat in any way. Instead, the whole reason forgiveness must exist is to make peace with all of the brokenness we're all trying to contend with on a daily basis just living in the same world as each other. It's really humbling to think about when you put into perspective that as many times as you've been frustrated with someone and just wished that they would recognize the error of their ways and apologize to you is probably about as many times as you've been the one causing someone else that same frustration. And to think that the forgiveness we would wish from others is the same forgiveness we should be practicing in our own lives just blows my mind. How many times have you held onto a grudge? Did it ever really help you accomplish anything? Did it ease the tension at all? Did it make the other person see your side? If you're anything like me, the answer to all of the above questions is a resounding no.

The bottom line is that people are messy. We step on each other's toes regularly and never bother to look down and check who we've hurt in the process, let alone properly apologize and ask for forgiveness. But oh, how amazing does it feel when we feel right with the world and the people around us. How amazing does it feel to know that our loved ones aren't keeping score. So, do yourself and those around you a favor and stop keeping score on them. They're never going to see your scorecard and even if you decide to one day whip it out and show it to them (I applaud your diligence by the way for actually keeping a physical scorecard), you're never going to accomplish what you wish to accomplish. So make the decision to ask for help in forgiving. You'll be glad you did. So will your soul.

A soul at ease is priceless, indeed.

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