Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The work of forgiveness 14

Here we are, still in step 5 of the forgiveness process I am using. I'd like to consider with you when we can know we have forgiven the person.

I think some of us can sit down at this point, offer the person to the Lord, pronounce forgiveness, and not look back or be bothered about things later on.

Others of us, and this includes me, operate a little differently. I have enough doubt in myself that making a pronouncement that "sticks" internally for all time doesn't seem to work. When I try to work that way, I inevitably find myself thinking at some later point, "Have you truly forgiven this person?"

That's just me and my insecurities. I find things work much better for me when I can come to some kind of realization here in step 5 that I feel much more kindly towards the person than I did before beginning the process. Or that I have let go of a desire for retribution, or for them to admit what they did and ask forgiveness from me. I feel a sense of progress when I can pray for, instead of at the person.

When I sense a change in myself regarding the other person, I am, in that moment, forgiving them. And when I sense further change, I am forgiving them. When I realize the change has persisted within me over time, I am continuing to forgive them.

What works for me is a realization that I am in the process of forgiving, not that I have, in a moment, completed the task. And not that, having forgiven them, I can move on and never think of them again. I want to persist in this state of forgiveness, and when a thought of the person comes to mind, to realize I am still holding them in this grace. To be able to continue to pray for them and want the best for them.

That is what is working for me.

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