When you are forgiven what truly does it feel like? Do you know? Maybe you have never really thought about this word before. Only those who have ever wronged someone they love or indeed didn’t love, but felt remorse for their deeds, really know the power of forgiveness. Possibly you have truly hurt someone who means the world to you and miraculously they extended the white flag of peace to you and wrapped their loving forgiving arms around you, that’s a gift of the highest order.
This week I ventured on a journey. I was looking for something, although rather hesitantly I might add. What was my quest? I headed off into the sunset of my own heart to see if any undone forgiving lay hidden in the memoirs of my life. And guess what, truly unknown to me, there was. Its funny because I wasn’t walking around maliciously harbouring anger or resentment towards anyone. I didn’t have a jealous vendetta against another soul and I honestly felt no thoughts of intense anger were keeping me awake at night. Sure I have been hurt, but not to the extent that I was gripped with an anger so great that I wanted revenge. But still I found some unchallenged notions and unchecked corridors of thought there in my heart. And I didn’t like it. Mostly what I saw, were disappointing behaviours and unspoken sorry’s. Some were my own doing, but some were not. Both were reasons to feel slightly let down by those I somehow expected more from. The thing is, they didn’t even know it was there. It wasn’t like I’d been stolen from or visibly attacked, it was a far more subtle wound. Like so many are. But be careful because even the smallest paper cut can become infected if left unattended in the wrong atmosphere. So I decided to let it all go. I also decreed that I would seek to not be the cause of even the slightest paper cut in the lives of those around me, that includes the tangible encounters or the virtual (yet meaningful) online situations too. Words can hurt, whether spoken, written or implied or typed.
So a week later I’m honestly recounting the last few days and evaluating my journey. Isn’t it funny, (although I’m not laughing), that when you decide to forgive and forget, that suddenly you are presented with a real life situation where someone hurts you, out of the blue. That’s what happened and so my test really commenced. This kind Irish friend never intended to hurt me, but sometimes it still works out that way. I had a choice to make and indeed I still have to make it every day: to be the person I want to be. and to forgive and let it go. Somehow its easier (possibly) to forgive someone who is truly sorry and genuinely upset at the pain they caused, than it is to extend forgiveness to an individual who believes they did absolutely nothing wrong at all. The second scenario is my lot. But you know what, it makes totally no difference, it does not remove your responsibility to do the ‘bigger person’ thing. Whether they admit it or not, you have a choice to make, that’s holy forgiveness. Then you must try to forget the wound and choose to love, that’s holy amnesia! When you can’t do it easily, when it takes blood, sweat and tears, with a huge spoonful of humility and resolve, then you know you are really becoming a person who forgives quickly, you are becoming a legend in your own heart.
It’s when you open the door of the penalty box and you let them go free, that you actually open the door to setting yourself free also. I’m not saying it is easy. I truly know, with my hand on my (disappointed) heart that it is not. But nonetheless it is essential to your own health and peace of mind. You must try to move towards that result, even if it is tiny steps of peacefulness and release. Are you even considering it? Somewhere deep down in your heart I believe there’s a song of freedom, maybe its only a softly hummed melody, that’s calling you to a place of letting go. Where you will be able to sing loudly and tearfully the song of holy forgiveness.
In some ways, the loudest singers of this song are those who already have been forgiven much, and been able to in turn forget much, for they know the cost of this release. It is the key that opens your own prison door. Does that not include us all? Remember the story about the woman caught in her sin, (John 8) for those who have a Bible, it is worth reading; Her accusers were armed and ready to stone her. Then Jesus said to the angry mob, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” ~ But none were found faultless ~ and all that was heard in that instant, were the stones of abuse and criticism falling to the dusty earth, as each accuser walked away.
So today, drop your stone to the ground. I know its not easy. I’ve learned this lesson too many times and I know it takes all the strength and grace and guts you can muster. I know it involves holy amnesia; forgetting and moving on, but it will change your life. It will improve your health and bring you to a wide open space, to a running brook of peacefulness and a pasture of healing. You will be known as someone who uses stones to build up and restore, instead of tearing down or destroying or inflicting pain. How you use the stones in your hand is your responsibility; either you use them for good or for harm. But be careful for one day you may be standing in front of
someone you’ve hurt, desperately needing them to drop their accusing stone to the ground and set you free. In some ways, the greater the hurt done to you, the heavier and weightier is your right to throw that huge boulder at the one who hurt you, but what will it rea
p? You will carry the weight around with you all of your days. Its a burden only God can carry. So let Him. Let Him take care of it. I know you’re tired. Drop the stone, and see what amazing things God will put into your hand instead. That’s “Holy Amnesia”, when we aim to forget and walk in love.
Who knows, but maybe the person who needs your forgiveness the most today, is yourself.