Stupid little quizzes are the way that I waste my time these days. You know the ones. They pop up on Facebook and tell you to find out what movie you would be living in. Which Disney villain are you, etc. I admit that I spend way too much time on these.
It was at five in the morning and I was drinking coffee, trying to get awake so I could begin my writing before everyone woke up. One of the questions was "How well do you forgive?" and without giving it a second thought, I clicked on "Depends on the offense." As soon as I clicked on it, I paused.
Guys, I'm a Christian...my answer was supposed to have been "really good." I was supposed to have been able to say that I can easily forgive and forget. But I failed. This point was so important that Jesus even included it when teaching people how to pray. He said that we should ask God for forgiveness for what we've done, just as we've forgiven others. If you want to be forgiven...you have to give forgiveness.
Sure, I'm great at forgiving small offenses. You stepped on my toe, oh I forgive you. You spilled something that took me a while to make, it's okay, I forgive you. You lied to me....*grumble grumble* I guess I forgive you.
The truth is that it gets harder and harder the deeper we get and the more we're hurt. It is hard to forgive. It is hard to forget. Sometimes we say that we forgive because it is the right thing to do, but deep down inside we are clinging to that offense with such gusto and determination that our fingers would bleed if we were to start letting it slip away. Sometimes our resentment over those hurts become part of who we are.
We have trouble forgetting and then our forgiveness becomes lip service to make ourselves feel better. To feel as if we've done the right thing. Yet we bury that hurt so deep and hide it. We say "I'll forgive but I'll never forget."
I read not too long ago that if you've truly forgiven someone then you will have no reaction at all when you think of the original event. Imagine that, being able to think of someone who has wronged you and not being upset, not feeling resentment. That is true forgiveness. Usually it does come with time as the wounds hurt less. But we can make it hurt less. We can offer true forgiveness.
Pray over it. Anytime that memory pops up, do not dwell on how you were hurt, instead take a moment to pray. Pray that God will give you insight. Pray that God will help you forgive the person fully. Pray for God to take that pain away. Pray for the good of that person... legitimately, sincerely.
The extent of our forgiveness shouldn't depend upon the depth of the crime. We should strive to forgive everyone. We should strive to truly forget the offence and we should strive to allow our hearts to heal. Forgiveness is hard, but God is greater than anything we struggle against.