A Step on the Path of Forgiveness

But everybody needs a little forgiveness. – Patty Griffin

Everybody. Though it pains me to type it out, it’s true. True, like the heat of flames. True, like the missed warmth of friendship long gone.

Over the years I’ve wrestled awkwardly with resolutions, New Years and otherwise. Alternating between embracing them with passion and despising them with the same, I felt I must land somewhere and do so resolutely on the matter. I’ve tired of that. Now I just do whatever feels like needs to be done. And so I’ve made no resolutions lately.

I do not plan to alter this consistent course now. But I do need to do something this year with far more weight behind it. Actually, it may be out in front.

I need to forgive someone.

And yes, it is still all out in front of me, undone. But for the first time since the need arose, I want to pack up my emotional baggage and be off for that talked of land which I have heard so much of and yet never really seen.

My well-worn grudge has been harbored. And I’ve had no real desire to raise the anchor and set out. My claims have been staked and to budge has not been an option. But now, well, I’m of a decidedly different mind.

It was no small slight. This is not the stuff of hurt feelings. It was…is the kind of wound which leaves grooves upon the soul. It cannot kill but it can leave the interior tender.

I tell you this so you will realize why this is not merely a decision but a journey. Some will understand. You have grasped for the same words. And tugged at the hems of the same emotions.

Most talk of forgiveness is foolishness. As if we can forgive easier than God. God’s forgiveness came at the expense of his only Son. And was a plan of forgiveness stretching over thousands of years on into eternity. The forgiveness of a moment is fiction. It’s length begins with a moment but must be followed up by moments all the way to death oftentimes. Go figure.

I prefer the metaphor of steps. Each step in the direction towards the peaceful soul I’ve longed for and pine for still. I assume I’ll step toward mountains and into sloughs of despond aplenty. There’s something very Zen about steps. So simple, babies take them. They begin hard, they become easier.

He may never know of my forgiveness. And he certainly may not agree there is anything to forgive. I cannot imagine him asking. To tell him of my forgiveness would be a provocation without cause.

I’m not sure why it’s easier to begin along this path now, after no longer being a pastor. But it is, strikingly so. However, I’m afraid it will be hard. Hard like all the hardness in my heart towards him. Hard like granite layered upon steel encased in marble.

So I begin now, in the month named for Janus, the Roman God of gates and doors, beginnings and transitions. He is represented by two heads – one looking to the past and one to the future ahead. So I figure, now is as good a time as any to begin forgiving. God help us.

One thought on “A Step on the Path of Forgiveness

  1. janetstephens January 4, 2012 / 11:00 pm

    Matt, I've been struggling with forgiving someone lately myself, so this is appreciated and timely!

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