Learning to forgive…again…and again.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.  He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.          ~ Martin Luther King

Some lessons are harder to learn than others.  Sometimes I think I’m a really slow learner.  For example, when I learn to do something new on my computer or my cell phone, if I don’t repeat it in a few days time, I won’t remember how it’s done.  I think that learning the lesson of forgiveness works the same way for me.  It would be nice if I could simply say, “I forgive” and let it go and never have to revisit that issue again.  I certainly always mean it when I say it.  I think what happens to me is that the hurt is multilayered and has many facets.  That means that just as I let one layer fly off on butterfly wings, another layer takes its place.  Maybe the human mind is that way for a reason.  Or maybe it’s just my mind that’s weird in that way.  What I have begun to understand is that each new layer is sneaky.  I may have to wrestle with it for days before I recognize what it is.

I don’t know how accurate my self-diagnosis is but I know I need to change my approach.  I just noticed that I used the word “wrestle” in the paragraph above.  I think that word might be key to my solution (my healing).  Why am I wrestling?  My new mantra will be something like this:  “I’m relaxing into forgiveness today and every day.”  I feel better already.

An addendum:  I have written before about forgiving.  I write about it in order to sort out how difficult it is for me to manage sometimes.  I hope I don’t sound as if I am the only one who has something to forgive.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I won’t bother to list things I’ve done that I hope will put me on the receiving end of forgiveness.  Such a list would depress me beyond repair.

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8 thoughts on “Learning to forgive…again…and again.

  1. Grief is so multilayered. It takes a long time to work through it. After my fiance left me two years ago, I read Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart and it was really helpful to me. I like your idea of relaxing into it. It reminds me of Pema’s basic message, which is that suffering is a universal human condition. We can forgive ourselves and be kind to ourselves as we grieve. That outlook helped me a lot when I was feeling so raw.

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  2. Forgiveness is difficult when the pain is so harsh. Forgiveness comes when we are able to not only forgive the other perosn but also forgive ourselves in a way.
    Youre right when you say you forgive you probably mean it, and you want it. But pain is sneaky too. And sometimes it comes back and reminds us we still have some anger inside which makes it hard to let go, hard to truly forgive.
    But forgiving doesnt mean forgetting. So im sure its possible in a way. Or maybe not. Maybe in order to truly forgive we also need to forget. Something which is far from possible….
    But as you are a kind person, I’m sure no matter what you will find it within you to forgive. If not today then tomorrow 🙂

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    • I think you’re right, bye2. Sometimes I have a hard time separating hurt and anger. I have a good friend who is also a pastor. She told me she thinks we can forgive without forgetting. I’m hoping I’ll gradually forget to think about how painful this process has been but I’m pretty sure I won’t forget. Thanks for reading. Hope you’re well.

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  3. You never cease to amaze me with your writing talent and ability to express your innermost feelings so beautifully. It’s kinda like poetry; ;maybe it is poetry.

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  4. I’ve just written that I forgive Alex. Do I? I don’t know!! I want to because otherwise I will live with hate and that’s not a positive thing to have.

    The hurt is multi-layered and deep, so so deep. Maybe one day we’ll wake up and find that we’ve got there.

    I know you will. I hope I will

    xxx

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