To forgive is not to forget

Several years ago I was helped along by a someone who carefully explained that in order to forgive, you must not forget – you must remember. I wonder why I should have a flare up of remembering on Pentecost… oh, yeah, it was Mother’s Day.

I finally, after nearly years am allowing myself to admit to how much something hurt. And realizing that it still hurts. And admitting that my response was to want to cause hurt in return. And realizing that it’s a recurring hurt. And I’m tired of it. To get beyond, I’ve been trying to sit with it and decide to change my response. Not as easy as I thought.

I sit with the hurt. I invite Jesus to sit with me. I ask for the grace to not bury it but pull it out into the light. This is a matter that I shoved aside because it seemed so petty to dwell on. I buried it. And now it rears its ugly little (well, not so little anymore) head and hisses at me. I think of my misuse of a good commandment: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I took that commandment, and I said: “OK – so this is how you respond to me. That must be how you want to be treated.” Not so good, it turns out. It seems better to do something positive — to do what I would have wanted done for me. To do something for another person that I would want them to do for me.

I’m not finished yet. I can see that I’m going to have to go and sit with Jesus and go over it a few more times before I can let go. Until I can remember without the acid rising. Until I can treat the other with love. Until I forgive.

This has been quite a journey to get to the place where I can actually pull these things out, sit with them and decide to forgive. It seems that first I had to accept not only that I hurt, but also that I returned the hurt. I have to let some of the shell break away and quite trying so hard to protect myself. Admit that there are a lot of chinks in the armor, and that the armor needs to be removed. And accept that I am safe in the Lord — and that I am loved.

I suspect that this doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone reading it. But, it certainly makes sense to me. This is a personal Pentecost: The Spirit comes and I hear the Gospel proclaimed in words that I understand.

Come Spirit, Come!

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