Forgiven, But Not Forgotten

18 04 2007

j0262948 (2)

Generally, when I think of forgiveness, I tend to think of the humbling relief that comes from being honestly forgiven after you’ve said something hurtful that you didn’t mean, or, at least, didn’t mean to say. But forgiving someone else can be a nice feeling, too, but it normally comes after a lot of not-so-nice feelings.

You know that person in the world who you’d rather eat a large helping of mud than have to talk to because they did something – either because they’re stupid or just downright mean — that ripped you into little bite sized bits? Well, I ran into my I’d-rather-eat-mud person yesterday.

I wasn’t exactly thrilled when I saw her, but we were both standing in the same line, so hiding or pretending I didn’t notice she was standing right beside me weren’t really options. And so, with an oversized amount of awkwardness and civility hanging in the air and swirling around our heads, we chatted briefly about pointless, frilly things that neither of us cared anything about – the weather, hair dye – and talked so vaguely about our lives you’d think we kept the smallest details as close to our hearts as a card shark keeps his hand. 

As our line came to an end, and we parted, I wished her well. And you know, I actually meant it. I honestly hope life turns out well for her. I still don’t trust her any farther than I can throw her, and I have no desire to go out for Starbucks with her, or to sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya and roasting marshmallows. She hurt me, but knowing I’d forgiven her — even though she’ll never know I have — made me feel like the last bitter string of our former friendship had been cut, and I was free.

Even though I can’t flip a switch and erase the unpleasant words that were said in the past from my mind, she no longer unconsciously has any control over me, because I’ve let it go; I’ve wished her well.

Forgiveness is very freeing.

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8 responses

18 04 2007
writerchick

Kelsey,
It does feel good to let go of that sort of thing, doesn’t it? I’ve had a similar experience and it took me a long time to get to that place. But once I did, it was totally freeing and as you said, no longer owned me. Forgiveness is a good thing. It truly is.
WC

Yes, it does feel good to let of something like that, because it’ll just eat at you. Sometimes, forgiveness seem to take awhile. Maybe it’s more of a process than a microwave speed fix. It took me awhile to get to the place where I wasn’t muttering not-so-nice things under my breath. It’s a nice to have finally let go of it; to feel free.

~Kelsey

19 04 2007
~m

Ah, forgiveness; easy to talk about, incredibly difficult to offer sometimes.
I think if more people embraced this kind of thinking the world would be a better place.
Look at what happened at VA Tech.
If just one person had said, “I forgive you” maybe. . .
Maybe it’s just my utopian mind at 5:30am.
~m

It is so much easier to talk about the idea of forgiveness than it is to actually forgive someone.

I think you’re right M, if more people did forgive the world would be a better place.

~Kelsey

19 04 2007
Dianasaur

Good for you Kelsey, I know so many adults that don’t have the understanding that someone doesn’t have to be sorry for you to forgive them. And you also don’t have to tell them you’ve forgiven them. Forgiveness is for our spiritual and emotional health. It’s such a weight off your shoulders and heart to turn that bitterness over to God. I’m really glad your were able to do that in this situation.

Yes, it’s true, so many people are confused about what true forgiveness actually is. Maybe because so many of us think about being made to say “sorry” when you’re little if you’ve done something worng, and than if you’re the one who’d been wronged being told to say you forgive them. It’s what you’re made to do, not what you chose to do.

~Kelsey

19 04 2007
Lara

i think there’s also an important difference between forgiving and forgetting. forgiving someone doesn’t mean i just forget what they did, as if it never happened. it means i’m willing to move forward, instead of getting stuck in past anger and hurt; to acknowledge that a mistake was made and anger won’t help it. i also think that while it’s obviously difficult to forgive someone who’s really hurt you, it’s also hard to be forgiven when you know you’ve really hurt someone you care about. when i haven’t forgiven myself it’s very hard for me to accept anyone else’s forgiveness.

thanks for stopping by my place. i love meeting new folks. 🙂

Yes, you’re right, there is an important distinction between forgiving someone and forgetting what they did. If we could simply forget the need to forgive would become obsolete.

Very true. It can be hard to except someone else’s forgiveness, when you’re on the other side, especially when you haven’t yet forgiven yourself.

I enjoyed looking around your blog; it’s very nice. 🙂

~Kelsey

24 04 2007
hudds53

Kelsey
Good for you, when we can forgive another it is releasing for our hearts and souls. We do it for our own benefit not for the benefit of the other person.
You are right we never have to welcome that person into our lives again, but we don’t have to give them ongoing control or power over our lives, which they have when we don’t or can’t forgive.
I know it, I can say it, but I can’t always do it myself.
Bill

Forgiveness seems to be one of those things that so much easier to talk about that it is to actually do. It’s hard to not hang on to the pain and bitterness towards someone, even though the only person it hurts is us. Sometimes, at least for me, forgiving can almost seem like giving in, but in fact it’s the only thing that can release you.

~Kelsey

26 04 2007
babychaos

I’m like writerchick there… It took me years to let it go, until I was 30 years old to be precise for a year of misery when I was 14 but blimey! It has to be the most liberating thing I’ve ever done, realising that I didn’t care any more, that I felt sorry for them rather than mad at them – good on you!

Cheers

BC

It’s so hard to finally get to the point of being able to forgive someone. Some people seem to think you should be able to just “fogive and forget” and it’ll never bother you again, but I think forgiveness can be a long process and the truth is you never truly forget. If I was able to simply forget there’d be no need to forgive.

The individual I ran into recently was someone from back in high school, so it’d been a couple of years. High school kids can be so horrible to each other. I think the majority of the people I’ve had the most challenging time forgiving were all people from that awkward time in my life.

~Kelsey

27 04 2007
Mrs. Nicklebee

I just noticed you have Casting Crowns on your Life’s Soundtrack. I LOVE Casting Crowns. That’s neither here nor there but thought I’d mention it. Maybe I mentioned it before and I just don’t remember. Hmm …

Being willing to forgive as well as being forgiven makes it possible to get on with life, that’s for sure. I was reminded last week that an unforgiving attitude leads to some pretty intense bitterness sometimes. In that instant of remembrance, I decided to forgive everyone who has ever wronged me in my entire life. lol I did not want to get caught up in the meanness of one who is poisoned by her own anger and bitterness.

It’s good that you talked to that girl. It sounds like you forgave in the same way that the lepers were healed–“as they walked”, like the period at the end of the “I forgive her” sentence.

I love Casting Crowns, too. 😀

It did work out that I had a chance run-in with her. I’d gotten to the point of forgiving her awhile before, but it’d been a long time since I’d seen her last and it’s easy to think you’ve fully forgiven someone when you haven’t seen them for a couple of years. It was nice to be able to see that I truly am free from the anger, bitterness and hurt I’d been dealt wtih for long. I was able to run into her without it spoiling my day, which was good.

~Kelsey

8 05 2007
chughes

Forgiveness is essential to our emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Though it helps the person forgiven, forgiveness is for the forgiver.

i like that you’ve shown this to the world.

Yes, it most definitley is for the forgiver. When I find myself holding on hightly to unforgiveness it’s often because somehow I feel it will “get back” at them, but the person it always hurts the most is me. Forgiveness not only makes it possible of us to no longer let the other person have control over us, it lets us move on with life.

~Kelsey

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