Forgiveness is made easier when the future is more important or relevant or significant than the past is. It’s not saying the past is unimportant or irrelevant or insignificant; of course it is these. If the issue or person or people we have struggled to forgive wasn’t important, relevant or significant we wouldn’t have had a problem forgiving them or the matter at hand.
The future can be problematic if it means letting go of what we’ve made a precious possession – our hurt, that stinking pride, or an unreconciled and ‘deserved’ bitterness.
But hopes for the future drive many a decision and so they should. If something holds us back from the best of potential, limiting us, we ought to seriously reconsider what we are about. We cannot say we are open to the thoroughfare of God’s will if we insist on retaining our hurt.
There is a stench that clings when we have been betrayed or misunderstood. We find it perplexing just how we are to move on. We wish to hold the person or situation to account whilst also getting disentangled from the resentment that seethes and continually haunts. But to do both things at the very same time is impossible. We must go one way or the other – stay in the land of hurt and attempt to hold the person to account (which is actually, really, holding ourselves in captivity against ourselves) or choose to let what ails us go. Of course, it helps to see what we could have done better. It helps also to enjoy a poorer person’s perspective. When we consider the life of the less fortunate person we are helped in our healing. Finally, we know that God, alone, judges and he does so without recourse to error.
If we are ready to move on into the future, we are ready to make a decision to forgive. If the future holds more hope than does the despair of the past we are ready to forgive. When our souls pine more for joy than they append to bitterness we are ready to forge our quiet way into the future.
If tomorrow’s hope is more precious than yesterday’s despair, we are ready to forgive.
We cannot rush such a process, but it does inevitably come to those who seek it.
So it is up to us to seek it; to pray for God to help alleviate our burden for a justice we can only see from our side. The moment we become serious enough to throw our caution to the wind is the moment we are ready to step into that brighter unknown.
Now let us not assume that forgiveness is but one decision; it is a series of decisions, made each day, and each moment, at a time. Forgiveness is a process.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.