C. S. Lewis said,
Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.
So a few weeks ago I wrote about how my friendships were undergoing spiritual warfare.
In the midst of the lies Satan was telling me, was an element of truth. I give a lot more than I’m given.
This isn’t talking about donations, like spiritually or anything. This is within friendships.
And not just any friendships.
With my best friends.
When I stop driving to them, they never come. When I send letters, they never respond. When I invite, they never accept.
Holy crap – what do you do with that? I kind of expected for it all to blow over once I prayed about it and stuff. But once I calmed down, I was left with this awful, nasty, ugly piece of truth.
I sent messages expressing my hurt. I forced myself to conjure up kind words about them when they came up in conversation. I kept the pictures up in my room.
and then I received the apologies. Today in the mail I received the last of them, and as I sat wondering if it was insensitive of me to burn the letter and then instagram the whole thing, I realized something.
Forgiveness takes humility.
I’d always thought it took humility to SEEK forgiveness, but man. The lump of pride in my throat I’m preparing to swallow… it’s huge. I think it takes humility to forgive because, if we are going to offer forgiveness like God offers to us, we do not forgive after the wrong has been righted. Forgiveness begins the moment it’s requested, because forgiveness has to have an element of grace to it.
According to the definition offered by C.S. Lewis (which I agree with), forgiveness means
#1. acknowledging that what the other person did was not right
#2. we will make it right on their behalf.
We will, like God through Christ, take the dirty rags of friendship and – with our own hard earned money and our precious time – we will clean them, fold them and hand deliver them. It has to be this way, or else we are not truly offering forgiveness. I must put aside my expectations of what I deserve or don’t deserve, and say “I love you because I love,” words Rhoda once wrote on the inside of a Dove wrapper and snuck into my Bible.
I am tired of carrying around the excess weight of hurt. But look, I watch Extreme Weight Loss and I know that extra pounds don’t always just shed themselves. I have to climb the mountain of forgiveness in order to shed everything that is holding me down. But thankfully, I am being encouraged and motivated, soothed and challenged by someone who is even better than Chris Powell – by the Lord Jesus himself, who climbed a mountain of forgiveness with a cross on his back and then hung on it. I just have to get to the shadow of what he’s already done and he’ll take care of the rest.
God give me the strength. sigh.