One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26
3. Forgiveness is hard because ~ Our story is trapped inside.
After a while, I lose perspective about the story of my life. It becomes normalized which is dangerous because normal can very well mean unhealthy. It also becomes cobwebbed and no matter how much I try to make sense of it, wisdom is lost in the complicated weave of the strands. Sooner or later, I wish for someone to hear the contents of my heart.
Personally, I have found that until I tell my story to someone God picks, I don’t have a truthful perspective. It isn’t until there is a safe, empathetic listener, that I can begin to sort things out. Sometimes, I even surprise myself at what I’ve been holding inside.
How does this pertain to forgiveness? If my story is locked inside, swirling without clear definition, I will be unclear as to what and whom I should forgive. If I need to forgive a blamer, chances are that I have assumed the guilt they imposed like a sponge. I can’t sort it out myself. If I’m someone who minimizes my pain, I won’t forgive the real offense. I’ll say, “Maybe it really wasn’t all that bad.” A Jesus-kind of listener will give me a barometer for assessing how good or bad something was. I’ll go so far as to say that I’ve never had real clarity about something important without talking about it. I’m a very private person so that is difficult for me. I’m the kind who only makes a few close friends and shares nothing personal on Facebook. I’m an introvert and that puts me in the minority. Introverts can get lost in their head where extroverts tend to spill everything without a filter. Only spiritual maturity gives both sides balance.
If you find yourself stuck in what you suspect is unforgiveness, could it be that you don’t have clarity about the offense? Maybe you say to yourself one of the following, “Maybe I was the one who was wrong.” Or, “Maybe I”m making too big a deal out of this.” Or even, “Maybe it’s worse than I thought!” It’s probably time to open your heart to someone.
One last thing ~ speaking something makes it real. Unspoken pain can remain surreal and is easier to ignore.
You made me to live in community with others. I need them and that means talking. Thank you for my ‘listening ears.’ Amen