Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something you have to forgive someone else for

Oh, so many quotes about forgiving people. There's, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." Or how about, ". . . forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us . . ." (The Lord's Prayer) Yet another: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” (Lewis B. Smedes) And of course the old standby, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” (Mahatma Gandhi )

So forgiveness is the right attitude. But what about forgiving someone who's done a very bad thing (let's take an extreme like physical abuse as an example)? Are you suddenly a bad person for not being able to say, "Hey, I forgive you for raping me,"? I don't think so, but sometimes it sure seems that way.

It took me years to forgive my mother for her "sins". She was a bad mom. There's just no getting around that; it's a fact. I can't change it, though... and apparently, neither can she. She remains the same bad person now that she was when I was growing up. I don't say that lightly, either. Not many people are BAD PEOPLE. Most of the time good people do one or two bad actions, and they then correct their errors and move on. My mother is not on that list.

Still, I have forgiven her. She did the best she could. The fact that her best wasn't good enough does not change the fact that she gave it her all. Isn't that what we all do? What I cannot do is forget. Because she is not capable of changing, I simply cannot forget. I need to be aware of what happened, so that I do not put myself in the same position again. Forgive, yes. Forget? No, abuse victims, victims of violence or disaster simply cannot, and should not, forget.

I have to forgive someone for being who they are. Much in the same vein as my comment yesterday about my being human, there is someone in my life that is quite fallibly human and has hurt me and continues to hurt me on an almost daily basis. I still love that person, but that isn't enough right now. I need to forgive that person, and I'm having difficulty with it. Again, it's a situation of forgiveness without forgetfulness, which makes it even more touchy. Still, that is what I need to do. If I am to be a strong person, if I am to speak as a minister at some point in the future, then I need to forgive the people who've wronged me.

But it's sure hard.
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