Tuesday, September 7, 2010


(Before I begin the main part of this post, I want to emphasize that I see righteous anger as a perfectly appropriate response to people and things that have caused much pain. Righteous anger can lead to change...but change that comes about from right actions and not from those of the "two wrongs make a right" variety. )

Life is full of difficult choices. Some decisions are easily reversed, but many are not. We can never take back hurtful words and actions. We can forgive those who hurt us, but we may not so easily forget...and to be clear, I don't believe that "forgiveness" means saying "that's okay" or in anyway releasing someone from the responsibility of their actions...I think it means letting go of my desire to make that person hurt like I hurt.

There is that saying "Once a fool, shame on you. Twice a fool, shame on me." I think that "not forgetting" helps us avoid repeatedly being the fool. When I am the one who needs to be forgiven, I must remember that "not forgetting" is not the same as living under condemnation. If I have sincerely and humbly apologized--and done what I can to right the situation--I must let that emotional baggage go. I don't however have to forget, because that may just be the road map that saves me from repeating that mistake...or at least catching myself before I drive off the road completely. I am so thankful that God forgives me so lovingly, and it is only from His great love that I am able to forgive those who have hurt me, and to forgive myself when I have hurt others. Some hurts obviously take longer to forgive, but I am sure that God understands that. I heard or read that when we don't even have the desire to forgive, we can start by asking God to give us that desire. If we allow Him to work in our hearts, He can help us move from where we are to the peace that forgiveness brings. There is just no peace in holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness.

I don't write these things flippantly or casually. I am trying desperately to live them, but I fail quite miserably at times. I am, however, getting quite good at letting God pick me up, dust me off and put me back on the horse again.


  1. There needs to be a "like" button here as there is on Facebook because I certainly would have pushed it.

  2. your post reminded me of situations i've read about where people have lost loved ones through violent acts and have managed to respond in extremely forgiving and noble ways. another strategy for thinking about how to forgive when you feel like you just cannot that these folks seem to draw upon is what can i do that would best honor the beliefs and values of the person i lost?

    one of the most inspiring examples to me is the Biehl family whose daughter was killed by a mob in South Africa in 1993. the daughter, Amy Biehl, was in SA to help register black voters for the first free election. the family put their daughter's cause, values and beliefs front and center in their response to her death and became a symbol for something really powerful and profound. they also received very sincere expressions of remorse from some of the people responsible for her death as well as from the community in which it happened -- which i imagine is extremely helpful.

    If you are curious to know more, here are two links to old news stories that describe what the Biehl parents did. It's amazing, I think.


  3. I've been praying for God to give me that desire to forgive......He's working on me.

  4. To God be the glory!! Thank you Susan for your honesty and inspiration! D