Monday, September 21, 2009

He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.

I've been thinking a lot on forgiveness today. When someone who cares nothing for you offends you, it is far easier to let it go, move on, and perhaps even smile at them as they pass you by. But when a love of your life causes you hurt, it feels so right to hold it against them forever. They should have known better, you say. There's no excuse. And you're right. There is none. Not ignorance or distraction or forgetfulness. None.

So what does that say about you? That you care more for the well being of some almost stranger to release them from your grip, but for someone closer they, have to live under your bitterness until you decide you're ready to let it go? Oh, well that's different. The stranger didn't know better. Okay. Is that still an excuse?

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." - Proverbs 27:6
What does that mean? I took it to say that when our close ones rebuke or discipline us that we shouldn't be discouraged. We should trust them to speak those things for our benefit. And when others we don't know or trust very well begin to feed us with words sweet to our ears, we should be suspicious. They might be after something for their own selfish benefit.

What if it means that when someone we love hurts us deeply, whether intentionally or not, it is still to be trusted? Only the ones who know us best can know how to hurt us most. What does that mean? At what point do you give up and say enough? Never? What if it continues? How much hurt are you supposed to endure? And maybe they didn't know better, though they should have. Isn't that an excuse? Maybe they really should have known better, and there is no excuse.

However, the ultimate truth of all these questions is that no matter the extent of betrayal and cruelty, the only true freedom from it is forgiveness. Never let anyone have a grip on you because of somthing so wrong. And never hold a grip on them, because you will hurt yourself and strengthen the pain. I have no answers. Just that people, no matter who they are in your life, will cause you harm. And people, no matter what they've done, can only be saved through forgiveness. Don't you want everybody saved?