This morning was chilly and grey as I drove to work. The 3:45am traffic was light and once I pulled into the parking lot, I had a few moments to tilt back my seat and think before my boss arrived and the workday started. I closed my eyes and was flooded with painful memories, flashbacks, snippits from sermons, blips of encouragements from friends...a chaotic swirl of thoughts and feelings my mind desperately tries to control. It's not a new struggle; the battle of heart vs. mind. My mind tells me what I should do, how I should react, how I should feel...but my heart cries, remembers, hurts, is incapable of conforming to "logic".
It's often been said forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things to do. Ever.
I believe that. One moment I think I've done it - I've forgiven - and then there'll be an "episode", and I'm in hurt, angry turmoil all over again. How is it possible to "love the sinner, hate the sin"? The hating the sin part is certainly there, but loving the sinner? Really?
"The stupid neither forgive nor forget, the naive forgive and forget, the wise forgive but do not forget." -Thomas S. Szasz
What I've come to realize is that forgiveness is not acceptance. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not allowing a situation or behavior to continue. Forgiveness does not mean pretending. Forgiveness does not mean trying to have a warm relationship despite a screaming and resistant heart.
Forgiveness is letting go. Forgiveness is not having wrong expectations of someone. Forgiveness is recognizing the past but not allowing it to affect the future. Forgiveness is love...you don't have to love to forgive.