The Difficulty of Forgiveness (A No Easy Answers Post)

No Easy AnswersSomeone hurt me this weekend.

It was like a sucker punch to your most vulnerable spot. It felt calculated. Cruel. And completely unnecessary.

I reacted as most of us do when we are hurt. I got angry. So angry. I stewed over it, prayed over it, lived with it, and over and over I came to the conclusion that no response was appropriate or even possible. I simply had to forgive and move on.

But forgiveness is a hard, hard concept. It is an act of will, and in the face of repeated injury, will fails. There’s a reason the saying is “forgive and forget.” The only way to move forward in relationship is to truly leave it behind, to start anew, without the baggage of the past changing the shape of the future.

And yet there’s a line, a point at which you have to flip into self-preservation mode. Or is there? No matter how you spin the numbers, that Gospel passage is pretty clear: seven times seven times, seventy-seven times—in Biblical numerology, seven is the perfect number. There is no upper limit. There is no line of self-preservation.

We’re just supposed to forgive.

But after a certain point you can’t forget anymore. And then the question is: if you haven’t forgotten, if you’re still hanging onto it, if you’re just waiting for the next injury to drag it all to the surface again…have you really forgiven at all?