This week’s one-word, five-minute free-writing exercise hosted by fiveminutefriday.com.
She showed up inside my screen one day saying she was sorry and could I ever forgive her. There was much weight in the gesture, it seemed to me, a confession worthy of absolution. And so I did. I forgave her. It came easy, really, despite the festering wound I’d brandished for months. Suddenly the oozing ceased, the wound dried out, and I began to heal all in the distance of a single sentence. It was amazing to me, this girl who carried bitterness as the heaviest of burdens, this girl who found forgiveness as foreign as creme brulee and who believed forgiving meant approving, meant conceding truth and merit to the offense. Poof. There it was. Or rather, there it wasn’t. I let it go. The wound healed and the scar faded one sunny spring morning. I was so astounded by this I spoke to another friend about it and wasn’t she just as surprised as me at the ease of my release? “It was easy, really,” I told her, “All it took was the ‘I’m sorry’ and it was easy. I could let it go.” “That’s good, Bren,” my friend said, “but there will come a time when there is no apology. Still, you must forgive. That will be the challenge.” And I sit here now recalling her words with a wound so wide and raw I can imagine no day without it. I pray continuously for relief from this bitterness and yet I fester in hurt and its pairing anger so deep forgiveness is a myth. I plan ways to let the offender know of my pain, so they can see it, so they can know. Oh, how much I despise their actions yet somewhere inside this voice says, “No, Bren, that’s not how you should be. Forgive.” I strain for arguments and justifications, but in the end, I wrestle myself and fall spent, drained, my own Self compounding my own ache. “That will be the challenge,” she said. This is the war. I pray on.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.