Don’t Rush Forgiveness

Don't Rush ForgivenessWhat a great reminder this weekend at Bear Valley Church from Todd Lanting about the power of forgiveness. There are two points that have particular meaning for me.

First is the understanding that forgiveness takes time. The deeper the hurt, the longer the healing will take. I talk about forgiveness with many clients, and have wrestled with my own giving and receiving of forgiveness, but rarely do I remember to accept this facet of it. I tend to get caught up in our “microwave culture” that wants results now!

When I’m tempted to offer forgiveness too quickly, it’s often not the healing kind of act that it could be. For me, it often means “I don’t want to think about or feel the hurt; so, yes, I forgive you already – now can we move on to something more pleasant?”

As Miracle Max informs us in The Princess Bride, if you “rush the miracle you get rotten miracles.” I believe the same thing is true about rushing forgiveness! If you rush forgiveness you might get “rotten forgiveness.” (Watch clip here.)

When I’m tempted to pressure someone to forgive me, it’s often the same desire; to avoid the hurt that I have caused. It is a very selfish act. I am essentially saying, “I know that I have hurt you, I feel awful about it, I hate that I did that to you, now YOU have to do something to relieve this for ME!”

You see the problem. This is not focused on helping the injured party to heal, this is still about me. Giving them time to heal and forgive when they are ready; that is loving.

Second is that forgiveness benefits the forgiver when it is granted. One of the most compelling stories I have ever heard in this regard comes from the book, Forgiving The Dead Man Walking. Most of us are familiar with the movie, Dead Man Walking, the story of Robert Willie who was on death row for his very heinous crimes.

The book, however, is the story of Debbie Morris, Willie’s lone surviving victim and the journey she went through to find healing. At the end of the book Morris writes: People often ask, “How do you feel about the death penalty now? Are you for or against it?” “I don’t know; I’m still wrestling with that question,” Morris writes. “But I do know this: Justice didn’t do a thing to heal me. Forgiveness did.”

I hope this reminder inspires you to take the next step in forgiveness – whether you are asking for it or granting it.

You can do this!


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Chuck has worked with couples and men for over 20 years, focusing on basic communication issues and crisis intervention and restoration. Read more >
He is the author of Marriage Recall, a compilation of helpful topics for couples. Read more at marriagerecall.com

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