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Note from Nicole ~ Forgiveness is Not for the Faint of Heart

By Nicole Donnelly

I have been on the giving end of forgiveness, and on the receiving end. I've also (regrettably) not forgiven, and not been forgiven. And those ones sting.

There have been occasions when forgiveness felt hard and costly to offer. Lysa TerKeurst writes in Forgiving What You Can't Forget that a hurt person will think "I'd rather protect myself and hide than risk further exposure by confronting my own resentments. It's not that I'm eating forbidden fruit in a garden, but my taste buds do crave the bitter illusionary rewards of holding a grudge." She goes on to give some reasons why people may hold on to unforgiveness. A few of those reasons are:

  • Hanging onto a grudge gives me a sense of control in a situation that felt so unfair

  • Forgiveness feels like it trivializes what happened

  • I can't possibly forgive when I still feel so hostile toward the one who hurt me

  • What they did is unchangeable therefore forgiveness won't help anything

Reminds me of something that I think I first heard from our county neighbor Richard Fredericks: "Unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison and hoping the other person will die from it." OOF.

On the other side of the coin, I've seen and experienced forgiveness more merciful and gracious than I could explain. About that, Lysa wrote "When someone ... overrides the resistance of the flesh and the pull of unforgiveness, it's shocking. It's one of the rarest moments in the lives of everyone looking on ... It's a moment no one forgets."

And that's why this is on my mind this week. Yesterday someone very dear to me experienced this kind of shocking forgiveness. The person she hurt (badly) turned around and offered her compassion and mercy. Most people would have expected the conflict between them to have been a friendship killer. Instead, their friendship is saved. There's no undoing the harmful thing that was done, but my friend's friend offered her forgiveness and said "life's too short."

Life IS short! May we all be lucky enough to give and receive forgiveness while we have the chance.




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