Okay, I've been skirting this issue for days so I guess I should just come clean because the signs are piling up.
It started last week when I got an email forward from my friend, Katherine (http://chefkatherine.com/ - check out her website...yummy!!) on the topic of forgiveness. I cringed but read it anyway as I have been struggling with forgiveness of someone in my life for a while. It read in part:
"We are no longer "fixing a flaw in the other person", rather we are holding their hand in an effort of mutual support. Have you every noticed that when you are hiking on a bumpy trail and you reach out your hand to help someone, you find yourself steadied. That is what love in Christ is, mutual support, since all of us are on the rocky road of sin."
Truth is that I am so flawed an individual, and while I try to work on so many of these flaws, sometimes I think to myself, "I'll just hold onto this one thing for myself. I'm still mad. I'm still hurt. I'm not perfect and God knows that. I don't need to give this up yet. There has been no admission of guilt or apology on this person's part, so there really is no need to address forgiveness." Meanwhile, I'm destroying my own life as I relive the injuries over and over. (And of course, reliving all of the smart, seething comebacks I wish I had said throughout the years. Ok, stop judging...you know you do it too!) Of course, God knows I'm not perfect. But I am ignoring the fact that He calls us to continue to work toward becoming more and more like His image. So unless He's a stubborn, crybaby waiting years for an apology, I guess I haven't exactly mirrored Him yet.
I would love it if you all would post comments on how you have had success with this very difficult task. (Or am I making it more difficult than it needs to be?) Please let me know your suggestions so that I may work to rub the ickiness out! I know there are things I can do beyond those that I've tried.
I need to reach out my hand from this rocky road. I need to take the hand of my offender, squeeze it and say, "I'm sorry you have been hurt so badly that you feel the need to hurt others. How can I help you? How can we heal your heart?" I do feel I would steady myself in doing so. I shudder to think of the condition my soul would be in were God to hold out forgiveness to me in the manner I have to others. I know that no matter what I do, even when I don't seek forgiveness - either out of stubborn pride or ignorance - that He is there to forgive regardless. There is no comparison to that kind of love and grace. The best I can do is to try each day to model it and hopefully find one day, my walk steady and my hands wound around those I've helped. Pray for me that I will soon walk the higher road!