I’ve been seeing this saying in various places online lately. On Pinterest, on Facebook, heck there’s even a group with 190 people in it with this saying’s name. When I first read it, I immediately understood its point. I would imagine that almost anyone who has lived past the age of 16 understands the basis of this quote. We’ve all been hurt, and when we’re hurt by people we often stop and wonder, how far do I have to go to forgive this person? At least, I know I’ve thought along those lines.
But something in my core just kind of rebels from this statement. I think about the amazing talk President Uchtdorf gave in conference a couple of weeks ago and I think, no, that isn’t Christ-like, that’s forgiveness with a but. Forgiveness should have no strings attached.
But then I stop myself, because I’m an analyzer, and I wonder – is that ALWAYS true? What about the abusive father? Should the mother forgive him, go back to him, and allow him to hurt/possibly murder herself and her children? Of course not! Every fiber of my being says NO! What about the manipulator who has been emotionally abusive? Again, I think of my own, perfect daughter and I think No – it’s OK to never trust that person again. Surely, when Christ said to forgive 70 x 7 times he did not mean that you must restore trust to those who will harm you or your loved ones.
But for most of us, we aren’t in situations like that. We’re in plain ordinary situations dealing with plain ordinary resentments, judgments, and hurt feelings. But being plain or ordinary doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. There is real suffering out there due to plain ordinary problems, and to those experiencing them, it feels neither plain nor ordinary.
I remember a time when I felt that I had been greatly wronged by a close friend. Looking back, I’m sure that the wrong was two-way, but at the time I couldn’t see that. I could only feel the sting of a burnt friendship. I remember thinking that I could forgive, but never allow myself to be vulnerable again, never allow myself to get close to that person again. But as time went on an amazing thing happened. With a lot of prayer and a little faith we were able to forgive each other without the but, and that made all the difference. It turned bitterness into bridesmaids and hurt into healing.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a concept that can be mastered in one sitting. I think it’s something that I will continue to work on for the rest of my life as I continue to hurt and be hurt and work towards completion.
It’s such simple advice, if only it were easy. And yet, I have faith that we can come unto Christ, and as we give up our sins we will also give up our resentments, our pains, and our burdens, allowing our Savior to share the load.
He lives. He loves us. He will help us.
May God bless and heal your heart,
– Amber Mae