I’ve grown to love the topic of forgiveness. It’s complex, fascinating and I feel like I learn something new every time one of my groups discusses it.
I guess I expected that at some point, my forgiveness journey would end. No laughing people. Seriously, I thought at some point (and certainly by twelve years in), I’d have conquered the forgiveness quest. But… that hasn’t been the case. Because here is what I know about forgiveness: it’s a process. Not only is it a process but I believe it’s also an event. Paula Rinehardt said it so well in Strong Women Soft Hearts when she said “Forgiveness is both an event and a process. It’s one big yes followed by many little yeses as the months and years roll by.”
By event, I mean that for myself, there was a moment in time when I said “Yes. I choose to forgive you!” (Followed by a sundry of thoughts both before and after like, “There is no way I can do this. He will stop working his recovery” and “How can I possibly ever forgive him” and “Did I really forgive him?”) And since then, I’ve had to continue to press into saying “yes” with all the twists and turns in the road called recovery.
Whether it’s because forgiveness has been a topic coming up in groups or random triggers or satan trying to derail me (or a combo of all), I have struggled more than usual lately with the bitter thoughts that pitch a tent in my head like an unwelcome visitor. I’ve had to talk to Jason in the last week about several triggers and more dots that I’ve connected from the past. He has been receptive, empathetic and very sorry. He has allowed his tears to flow. And for that – I’m grateful.
And yet, I find myself – no matter what – faced with the moment I’ve faced so many times in the past. When all I can do is let it go. Open my hands wide. Press hard into forgiving him. Forgiving them. Forgiving her. I say out loud, ” I choose”. And place my faith in God. That somehow, someway, He will do a miracle in my heart and soul. Again.
Because Jesus tells us, we can’t place a number on how many times to forgive. He tells us to forgive until our heart is healed. However long that takes. And maybe we will continue to choose into forgiveness forever and ever this side of heaven. And maybe, just maybe, that is okay.
Forgiveness isn’t perfect. Forgiveness isn’t even logical. Forgiveness isn’t a one time thing.
Forgiveness is supernatural. And I’m never ever going to feel in my human heart like doing it. But this, dear sisters, is what I can tell you: I know it works. God does the unthinkable and takes the bitterness away. One small bit at a time.
God has proven himself to be faithful to me and He will be faithful to you. Take that leap of faith. Step off the cliff and have faith that He will catch you. Again and again and again.