Confession #29... I am a forgiver... and sometimes I wish I wasn't.
I know I should be, and that forgiving is a good thing, but sometimes I just wish the people in my life had to work a little harder to earn my forgiveness. I know that's hypocritical since I accept God's forgiveness of my mistakes knowing I'll never do enough to deserve such grace, but there's always a little piece of me that wonders if I'm letting people off the hook too easily, and I want them to totally feel bad and really learn their lesson.
I read, or heard someone once say that choosing NOT to forgive someone is like drinking poison every day and wishing the other person would die. I think that's pretty accurate. I think people get caught up on the misconception that "if I forgive that person, then I'm saying what they did didn't matter, or wasn't that big a deal, or was ok. Or, I'll forgive them when they admit they were wrong and ASK for my forgiveness." I think forgiveness can be as simple as saying, "you hurt me in ways I may never recover from, and what you did was unforgivable, but I am choosing to move forward now. We will never be what we once were, or have what we may have had (and maybe in some cases, will never be friends again), but I am choosing to let go of the bitterness and anger. For your sake and mine." Going back to my new favorite mantra, "Grace is always the right response."
In Cody's message a few weeks ago he talked about generosity and hope, and one of the things he said was that forgiveness is one of the most generous ways we can give hope to the people in our lives. I think he's right, and because I love the God of second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances, a God who knows no such phrase as "lost cause," I think I'll choose to continue forgiving. Because there's a part of me that knows I can never out-forgive God, and that I need hope just as much as, if not more than, the next guy.