Forgiveness is a very sore topic for me. And has led to many a disagreement in my time. Because even though you may forgive someone at the time, when the hurt resurfaces that forgiveness doesn't really matter. I have been through a lot in the past couple of years with a complete betrayal by someone who I thought was my friend and the lack of communication in my marriage because of it. Then there are the old feeling of abandonment and hurt that have never gone away from my parent's divorce. So when a friend gave me a copy of Tracie Stier-Johnson's book “31 Days of Forgiveness Through The Eyes of Grace” I was a little skeptical. (Well actually I won it in a prize pack from my friend Teri Lynne after commenting to her that I had a very tough time with forgiveness.) But either way, God and Teri Lynne obviously knew that I needed this book.
I finally got the book in the mail late last week and started reading it. I made it through Day 1 and 2. Then I started getting bogged down. It started really tugging at my heart. Especially when I hit Day 3. “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast”- Marlene Dietrich. Wow, first thing in Day 3. Come on and admit it ladies- you are so guilty of this. I know that I am. And it is hard not to be. You start argueing over one thing and the next thing you know here you are bringing up some transgression from 10 years ago. And facing that and realizing that you need to forgive again and not only that but ask for forgiveness for reheating it is a tough one. But you know what really got me- the list in Day 3 that is what forgiveness is not.
-”Forgiveness is not expecting someone to acknowledge her wrongdoing.”
-”Forgiveness is not enabling, excusing, condoningg, or justifying sin.”
-”Forgiveness is not reconcilliation.”
-”Forgiveness is not forgetting.”
-”Forgiveness is not a one time event.” (page 23-24)
The only one in that whole list that I was not struggling with was number 2. You know why- my parents are divorced because of adulty. Of him chosing to be with someone else, forsaking his marriage and and his child. And until reading this book, I held onto that and refused to forgive him. But realizing that I don't have to forget it and that he may never acknowledge the hurt that he caused me led to me writing him a letter forgiving him and asking for a relationship. I didn't have to ask for reconcilliation but I hate that my kids have questions about him and I can't answer them and that they ask to meet him and I don't even know if they can. So I forgave him. I won't ever forget that pain and that hurt and that is why I can't condone or justify things like that. But I can forgive it.
Now you want to know the one up there that is making it hard? That first one. “Forgiving is not expecting someone to acknowledge her wrongdoing.” Isn't forgiveness so much easier when the other person is actually repentent? You remember that I friend I mentioned at the beginning of this? Well to this day she still doesn't see where she did anything wrong. Obviously lying to a lor of people, almost ruining a marriage/family, and almost getting someone killed because she refused to tell the truth is okay in her book. Not mine. And I am having a horrible time with forgiving her. I have written her letters again and again but I can't, in the end, send them to her. Because I know that to her it doesn't matter. And everyday I turn around and something else brings it back fresh in my heart and my mind. So maybe by the end of this amazing book I will get there. Just not today. And although I haven't had the book for 16 days I am on Day 16. Because I want to get there. Not for her but for me. Because “forgiveness frees us, not the transgressor” ( day 1 page 63).
My heart is getting lighter as I am reading this book. And I really want you to have that same feeling. You can get it. You can read all 36 Days (there are 5 “bonus days”), do the eight week study while you read, and commit the scripture chapter to your heart. If I can do it so can you. So if you struggle with forgiveness won't you join me in this book. It might just change your life and help you bring closure to hurt in your world.