Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Forgiveness Is A Hard-Fought Victory

A really good friend of mine reminded me about the importance of forgiveness today.

I have been pretty angry at my friend for awhile. Normally, we refuse forgiveness when we are angry, put-off and vengeful. It is no surprise then that I had not yet forgiven him, even though I tried desperately to convince myself I was not angry and that I had gotten over the whole thing. Neither of these things being true, it was just a matter of time before the lid was blown on the whole sham.

You see, this friend had refused to speak to me for months with little to no explanation. At first, I was heartbroken. One of my best friends just left me high and dry. How would you have felt? This heartbreak slowly morphed into hardened anger and I barely took notice. As I nursed my wounded spirit, I told myself this reaction was totally acceptable, natural and, indeed, right. I certainly had every right to feel the way I was feeling. Nobody would fault me there. I had been slighted. This gave me the right to pout and carry on and nobody was allowed to reprimand me.

I had the right to be angry. But was it what I should be doing?

I never really stopped to ask myself that question. Instead, when this dear, dear friend of mine finally decided to show his face again, I let him have it. I demanded an explanation. I refused kindness. I was a brute, to be quite frank. He didn't respond well. Mostly defensively. I can't really blame him for that. What was I expecting? People don't usually apologize as you reprimand them as harshly as I was him. It certainly did not end well. I have to say, I am quite ashamed of the whole thing. In all of that tumult and anger, I had forgotten two very important aspects of humanity: 1) Nobody is perfect and 2) keeping others' experience in perspective is of vital importance.

Instead of greeting my friend warmly after his 6 month absence from my life, I chose to let my anger get the best of me. Here was one of the people I had most identified with in my young life and I was willing to let him go for a bunch of prideful anger. True, he deserved it, but it's not my job to give him what he deserves. If I got everything I deserved, I would be one unhappy camper. Instead, it is my job to be merciful. This dear friend of mine should have received my forgiveness and mercy regardless of how he had wronged me. None of that should matter.

None of it does matter.

I just wonder if it's now too late to be in his good graces once more.

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