Sunday, August 14, 2011

Forgiveness Sucks

I understand why forgiveness is such a big part of the Christian growth process.  It's like boot camp for your soul....very strenuous boot camp... with shouts of pain and moments of despair that you will ever graduate.  Not that I am implying that you EVER graduate...because I don't think you do.  Graduating would be like completing the course...and that doesn't happen until you die.  So, don't get any jolly ideas about "finishing" and being "done" ain't gonna happen as long as you are above ground and vertical.
The thing that frustrates me, is that you can get all upset about a particular incident or string of incidents.  You can feel anger and feel totally justified in that anger.  You can put up your walls, hang out some "do not disturb" signs, and prop your feet up on your TOTALLY-understandable footstool of emotion.  And guess what happens?  You sit there, arms across your chest, firm set to your jaw...and it occurs to you that you do not have peace.  Dang.  You have warring and wrestling and enough inner turmoil to generate a tsunami.  And that doesn't seem...  "right" somehow.  To forgive at this point feels like something akin to caving....or folding....or being weak say, fine....I'll let it all go...I forgive you. 
I understand the verse that says, love your enemies, do good to them that hate you.....  that's the extreme ...normally people who HATE you and who are your ENEMIES, you can find ways to limit your contact.  What happens when this forgiveness thing comes up with those you are in direct contact with on a daily basis?  What happens when you have to forgive a string of events?  What happens when forgiving means you have to open up and be vulnerable?  And what happens if the offender is also a Christian and knows the answer Jesus gave when posed with the question of how many times must we forgive?  (His answer being 70 times 7).  What do you do with that?
Sometimes, as a Christian, I just find it extremely annoying to think that I can have justifiable anger and He still expects something of me.  My human nature wants to buck up..  to say NO!...I shouldn't have to respond to my emotion.  I'm not even going so far as to say I want revenge.  I don't necessarily want that.  I just want to not be required to open myself up and stand naked in my vulnerability.
I do so firmly believe Paul definitely knew what he was saying when speaking of the warring going on within us in the book of Romans.  I feel like any action that we must take.... not, that we MUST take but that we feel "convicted" to take, sometimes results in an all out wrestling with God.  It becomes our human nature wrestling with what He is trying to transform us to be.
Sometimes....OK, FINE...most of the time, I resist the growth process.  I hate it when I think He is prodding me to do something when all I want to do is point my finger at the other guy and say, "DANG IT!!  it's HIM!! look at him!!! not me!  WHY do I have to transform?  Can't you just let me be this time...let me feel justified in my thoughts and feelings and emotions and work on someone else???  ENOUGH already!!!!!!"  I hate that part.  It sucks.  I'm still wrestling.  Jacob did that, you know... for three days he wrestled God.  I read somewhere that God allowed this to happen to show Jacob that all his wrestlings and struggles were really with God himself, and not man.  Is that really where most of our struggles lie?  And how does that come into play when relating to others?  I mean, REALLY?  I'm not talking about the pat Christian answers you get..about understanding and forgiving and "well, bless their heart...that's just the way they are."  I mean, really.  Where do you draw the line?  Where do you say, "ok, I forgive you but I can't allow you to do this?"  Or does something transform when your heart transforms?  Good grief...  transformation is not easy.  It sucks.


  1. Well Michelle, I have thought about this same subject before. I think you must forgive, but you do not have to settle.

    In other words you can forgive, but not let that person continue to mistreat you. If you are indeed justified in your feelings, then they need to know that their actions are causing you to feel upset. Christ doesn't call us to be doormats. We are his children and he loves us and he would not approve of someone mistreating us. I think the idea is that we forgive them but then they are responsible and accountable for their behaviors. So if it is someone you cannot get away from, say a family member, and you have spoken to them about how they make you feel, and they are still not changing then you may just have to limit contact. If however, it is someone yet closer then counseling may be necessary.

    Do not take forgiveness to mean forget and sweep it under the rug. Forgiveness is a heart condition, meaning that you wish them no ill will for how they have treated you and you are not going to bring it up at every moment you have a chance. Essentially it means that you are not holding onto that hurt. You will remember the incident and hopefully you will try to change that relationship into a more healthy one.

    All the best,

  2. thank you for your comment, amy. those were some very insightful and truthful words. i agree....

  3. Death to self is a pain. Forgiveness carries a hunk of that pain. But life and peace are on the other side. We just have to keep reminding ourselves.

  4. maybe i should make a recording... and hit replay.