Finding Elusive Forgiveness

Forgiveness. It can be like water in our hands, slipping away no matter how hard we try to hold onto it. It's especially true with the big hurts that cut deep, with betrayals and insults that leave lasting scars, with apologies that are never spoken. Sometimes, we just can't seem to let it go, forgive, move on. Even when we want to.

We can tell ourselves that forgiveness is for our benefit, not theirs. We can even look to Jesus who, in the midst of being brutally murdered, set the ultimate example in forgiveness by saying, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Jesus knew to go beyond the actions of men and to look deeper into their hearts, their souls and He teaches us how to do the same through this powerful example.

But even with these reminders swimming in our heads, and a deep desire for true forgiveness, it can be excruciatingly difficult to find. And I think this is one reason why: We often try to push and pull and force it from our minds, convincing ourselves to let wrong-doings go. But forgiveness is not born of the head. It's born of the Spirit and the Heart. 

Not so long ago, I desperately wanted to forgive, to move on, to forget. The anger and pain were overwhelming and had gotten to the point of affecting my health. I needed to let it go. I tried everything. Reasoning. Therapy. Prayer. But nothing worked. After nearly a year of wrangling with this, I finally took the focus off the person who hurt me and put it on myself. I started praying for peace in this situation, for the ability to lead by example, for the strength to walk away. I started praying for the offender and his heart, his Spirit. And I prayed for my own as well.

And then, one morning I woke up and, out of the blue, forgiveness happened. Just like that. Unbelievably, but truly. Not by my doing, but by God's Grace. Love. Spirit. I loved this new feeling and hoped it was not just a temporary reprieve. But the next day it was still there. And the next. And the next. Grace and forgiveness were not loaned to me temporarily. They were gifts given with permanence.  

If forgiveness is elusive in your life, keep asking and asking and asking for God's intervention. Call on the power of the Holy Spirit. Be patient. Believe in Grace because sometimes only the One who is much bigger than we are can heal our biggest hurts. And when we lean in fully and surrender, forgiveness will finally be ours. 

Peace and Love, Underdogs!