Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a head ache, and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and lightness in your life.
Isn’t that a nice little nutshell of wisdom? We forgive and then get on the road to “laughter and lightness”. But–If only she hadn’t done THAT, I could forgive her. If only it hadn’t meant THIS, I could forgive him. If only… oops. There I go again, thinking my situation is special, and nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody could understand it, and nobody would expect me to forgive if they REALLY knew what happened and how awful it really was.
Oh- do you feel that way, too? I thought it was just me that had unforgiveable people in my life. Huh…
The quote from Joan Lunden sounds so trite. It really can’t be that easy.
But it is easy. And yet, it is the work of our lives to trust often enough to forgive, and forgive again, and then forgive some more. So is the problem forgiving, or trusting?
The only way I know how to forgive is to hand the person and their deed up to God. I have to get very visual about it, and generally use these steps when the thought of them or their deeds occurs to me: 1) I see the person in my cupped hands, and lift them up to God, while on my knees. 2) Then I have to put them in my cupped hands and lift my hands up to God, and shove them up into clouds. 3) Then I have to put them in a quilt, and see God picking them up. 4) Then I wrap them really tightly in a quilt, and I throw them like a football up to God. 5) Then I lock them in a rocket launcher and light a fuse to launch them up to God. 6) Then I… you get the idea.
I have to do it over and over, lifting them, sending them, blasting them. Every time I think of them, hand them over.
Eventually, I get to a point where I can just say “I forgive you” in my mind when the thought of them or their offense comes to mind.
And I am finally getting free to lightness and laughter.
The nutshell of forgiveness is that it is all predicated on a trust that God is there, and she can and is handling that offensive person and me with more love, care, and wisdom than I could ever know.
Through countless hours of silence, solitude, soul searching, and prayer, I learned that the act of trust is an utterly ruthless act.
-Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust