Rough day or just rough?

This is the eleventh day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/15: Forgiveness

auto-3647338_1920We are commanded to love, be kind, and forgive. Those first two are pretty clear cut. But I propose there are two kinds of circumstances for which forgiveness is appropriate – and they are vastly different.

The first one is when someone makes a mistake or a bad decision and it ends up affecting you, sometimes in a really bad way. Like they tell a little bit of a lie that escalates as it is passed from one to another. Eventually, as fallout from that lie spreads, you find yourself in the middle of deep weeds.

Or when someone fails to do something and you end up picking up the pieces or putting something back together.

Or somebody misses the stop sign and the front of your car is the end of the road for them. Ugh, I hate that one.

But, in each of these circumstances, the person whose actions ended up either hurting or inconveniencing you probably held no malice toward you. That person was most likely just having a bad day, trying to catch up the best they could, or changed the station while driving.

Although embarrassing (especially that one about lying), each of these incidences involve someone making a mistake. Not necessarily by mistake, because it’s difficult not to know you are telling a lie. But they made a mistake by doing something they know or should know is misguided, wrong, or dangerous.

And it may take a little time to forgive someone who made your life more miserable just so theirs would be more comfortable. It may be a minute or two before you can admit that you may have done the same exact thing if caught in their circumstances. Maybe not, but most of us would have to admit that we’ve cut a few corners to achieve a goal.

Honest mistakes? Forgivable. Maybe not immediate, but mostly possible.

And then there are occasions that beg a more difficult forgiveness: when someone hurts us or our feelings with callousness and no regret. 

Forgiveness is more elusive when someone is hard on me simply to exert power, when someone lies or gossips specifically to put me in a bad place, when someone I know maliciously reveals something about me that is private or personal, when I am an intentional target of harsh or cruel words.

I’ll bet long money I’m in good company when I say I’ve been at the sharp end of the stick in each of these scenarios. I’ve been bullied and gossiped about. My secrets have been exposed and I’ve had someone say unbelievably hurtful things directly to me.

And I’ll bet most of you have had the same kind of experiences – just the players are different.

Those people are the ones I find hardest to forgive or to approach about what they did. Those are the people whose lack of compassion for the feelings of others seems almost unforgiveable.

But our instructions come without exception :

Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted,
forgiving one another
as God in Christ forgave you

Ephesians 4:32

Yeah, the Apostle Paul doesn’t mince words. We don’t have a big choice in this. Unfortunately, Paul doesn’t say Forgive them when they ask you to. Because we all know, asking forgiveness doesn’t always happen – and almost never when people hurt us on purpose. But forgive them anyway.

Good golly, Miss Molly, Really?

Henry Wheeler Shaw or, under his pen name, Josh Billings, had a rather sassy view of forgiving the unforgivable. Perhaps Paul would not agree with the motivation, but it sure sounds like something I can buy into.

When somebody done you wrong, smile and give them a pass. Because, according to Josh:

There is no revenge
so complete
as forgiveness.

Yes, my lovelies, I know. That probably isn’t what God had in mind. But, I should get at least a little credit for adding the “smile” part. And, honestly, I think there comes a point at which He is happy that, at the very least, we have a sense of humor.

 

8 comments

  1. I had never heard that perspective but I don’t necessarily think it’s unchristian. If your motivation to forgive is revenge and so you approach the forgiveness as revenge, I’d say you are right, but it can also be seen as the antidote to seeking revenge because no revenge will ever be as final and as satisfying as forgiveness. If that makes sense…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your approach. Forgiveness in and of itself is satisfying, no matter what the offender thinks or feels.
      And I *was* feeling a little sassy, so my ideas may have been a bit sideways.
      Thanks for your insight .. xoxox

      Like

  2. You’re so right in that one of these types of forgiveness is easier than the other. I also love the forgiveness as revenge idea. haha I’ve always heard it as “kill them with kindness.” It’s satisfying to take the high road but I think forgiveness is more than that. It feels good because you’ve let go of your resentment. You’ve set yourself free. I’ve always thought forgiveness is often more beneficial to the forgiver than the person they forgive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that it can be much harder to forgive when the actions were malicious or intentional. But forgiveness will always be necessary, mostly for ourselves, for our freedom. This was such an enlightening post. Although you are probably right in that God did not intend us to use forgiveness as revenge it aligns with that being able to let go of the negativity that person brought you and move on really is the best revenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for both comments! And it gave me an extra little smile when you used the word “enlightening” – And, as a blogger and crafter, you know that words about what we do are meaningful. They feed our souls. Come back, soon, Laura… xoxox

      Like

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