23 April 2013

to forgiveness and beyond

I was reading a blogpost on forgiveness late last night so went off to sleep mulling it over. How we often need to forgive someone over and over because the pain of something keeps coming back and our minds default back to the original position. We seem to get stuck in a cycle and unable to break out of the need to forgive again and again.

Instances where the Scotsman and I have been in hurtful situations involving the same people meandered in and out. He seems to be good at processing these sorts of things and for him often the forgiveness is done quickly and underlined with a solid line. But I find things pop out of the woodwork unexpectedly like unwelcome house guests every now and again, stirring up old feelings. Sometimes from a decade or two ago.

photo credit: david nikonvscanon

When I tell the Scotsman he patiently reminds me of the need to let go again and forgive again. Even if he doesn’t roll his eyes in front of me, I swear I can hear them rolling! It is right to keep on forgiving, but often it just feels hard, messy and never ending.

So why when it is the same initial situation on the surface do the two of us react so differently?

Does it mean that I am more of a sinner and need to forgive more?

Does it mean that because the Scotsman has let go more easily, he is right and I am wrong?


The very last time I was ‘dealing’ with some of these feelings, again, immediately afterwards I spoke to my son on the phone. During the conversation he told me he was proud of me (you know a bam, significant, treasure-in-your-heart moment) and right in that space God was saying ‘This is what matters, not that.’ (And it's not the first time God has stepped in to whisper that very thing over the cacophony of anger and email shouting).

And actually no it doesn't happen like this every time. That would be way too neat, formulaic. Most of the time there is something of an undignified long distance see-saw going on. Let the weight go, take some of it back, forth and back. 

But for the times when my ears are unblocked long enough to hear, it is beyond clear 

this is what matters

He knows my struggles, my feeble attempts to forgive and the polite insistence of taking back weight and pain, to try and nurse it my own way. And yet He loves me. 

He knows the things I don’t know, the riddled hollows in a wooden, unforgiving heart and the gaps that need filling.

And those whispers will come from the unexpected people and places. They come and find me right there in the holes.

Oh yes, they will come

Those echoes of mercy and whispers of love, actually

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