Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ultimate Forgiveness

Every year, I try to learn something – considering the fact that there are 8,760 hours, 365 days, 52 weeks, and 12 months in a year, one would think I could easily learn ONE thing, right? Problem is, that ONE thing seems to get bigger and harder as I get older. Although it doesn’t grow in amount, it tends to grow in depth – depth of emotion, depth of sacrifice, depth of introspection - Since learning has become such a challenge for me, I like to procrasti…ahem…encourage myself by considering others who have already mastered whatever my present challenge happens to be.

My lesson for the past four or five years (yes, I’m that slow on this one) has been forgiveness. There. I said it. I have to take a deep breath just to tackle this one, but here goes. Let’s just say that some things have happened over the last few years to reveal the hearts of some people I love (and we’re just talking philos and familial, here) and it ain’t pretty. I’m not talking about the blow-out argument that allows you to get everything off your chest and walk away – I’m talking about the insidious, seething disillusionment that settles deep inside about someone who’s a permanent fixture in your life.

I’ve often heard that holding resentments and grievances is like carrying excess baggage. The thought of carrying loads of unnecessary burdens from one year to the next is distressing, to say the least (a lot like carrying an extra 20 pounds), but realizing that someone doesn’t love you is painful. No matter how many times they say the words “I love you,’ their actions speak volumes to dispute their profession. To employ a parallelism, I’d compare this unfortunate realization to the grieving process – denial, anger, sorrow, and even self deprecation (they don’t love me, therefore I’m unlovable).

This Christmas, something finally dawned on me. How, then, does Jesus forgive? Surely He does not deny our loveless, selfish behavior – He’s well known for speaking the truth, and I doubt He’s wasted time thinking Himself unlovable.

I know what you’re thinking – couldn’t you have thought of a more earth-bound example? Er….no. When I reach, I reach for the best, and it’s Christmas, so I’m thinking about Him even more than usual!

Remember a while back when everyone was running around with “WWJD” on their bracelets, T-shirts, jackets? It became so popular that it was relegated to a fad and lost its significance, but it did make me think a minute... stop and think about how Jesus would handle every situation – what would He say? What would He do? So, back to my lesson…forgiveness. What would Jesus do? Better yet, how would He do it? I mean, how can the non-divine accomplish something divine in nature? Perhaps by following His example…

First, Jesus taught what it means to love, thus setting the foundation for forgiveness. Isn’t that what we romance writers do? Second, He is honest and open about what He believes and how He feels. This way, we’re not expected to “read His mind,” so to speak. I’m pretty good at the honesty thing, too, but my introverted nature requires that I ponder everything before I speak, so too often, by the time I say something, I’m furious and the person I’m furious with is shocked and confused. Of course, I have my legitimate reasons for being this way. Once something is said, it’s not as if you can sweep it up and throw it out – it’s permanent. You might not feel the same way later, but your words are a done deal.

Finally, I’ve read that Jesus knows our weaknesses. I know them, too, but it’s the acceptance of said weaknesses that I have problems with. So…I know you were hoping I had something profound to say on the subject, but what can I say? I’m not there yet. I have a great teacher, though, and that’s a start, right? As I prepare to enter another year with a little less baggage, I stand in awe and appreciation of one of the greatest gifts – forgiveness – not only priceless to the forgiven, but soul-freeing for the forgiver. On a scale from 1 – 10, how forgiving are you? Did you cast off any baggage this year?


  1. very nice blog......
    i like your posting ,this is the better blog.


  2. Hello, Pen.

    Very inspirational and deep. Thank you for your post. It is great food for thought at a time where we all try to begin anew.


  3. Hi, Bathmate and Dayana. Thanks for your comments and may you have a prosperous, soul-freeing New Year :)

  4. Being on the receiving end of someone who never learned to forgive, I've witnessed first hand that those who carry grudges and hatred hurt themselves far worse than those on the receiving end of such negative emotions. Forgiving isn't always easy but letting go of negative emotions is liberating.

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