My Thoughts On Forgiveness

Posted February 10, 2023 by Prairie Wife -

I don’t usually take requests from readers, but a week or so ago, a reader commented on one of my social media posts and asked if I could write about forgiveness.

I tucked the comment in the back of my mind, and I have been thinking about it ever since.

Usually, the posts I write are based on what’s happening in my life, not reader requests…

But like any human that’s been alive for more than several years, I HAVE had a lot of experience with forgiveness.

You don’t stay married to the same man for almost 19 years without learning how to forgive.

I’ve had friends I’ve had to forgive.

And, friends I’ve had to ask for forgiveness.

I had no idea how much forgiveness parenting five children would take!

I have seen firsthand how hardheartedness can tear families apart.

And finding the strength to forgive myself has resulted in a lightness of spirit that I can’t fully explain.

But HOW?

HOW do we forgive others?

What does TRUE forgiveness look like?

Grit and grace.

To forgive others, you need grit.

The work it will take to let go of the past harm done and move forward is not for the faint of heart.

And true forgiveness means offering the grace to others we wish to receive.

Sometimes it has been easy for me to forgive.

Like when my young children would scream, throw a tantrum, and suck all the joy out of a room. It usually only took a few moments to forgive them after those incidents.

Even after hard moments with teenagers whose indifference to your help cuts like a knife, I find it relatively easy to forgive them and move on.

Thoughtless comments from a friend where I know they truly had no idea the bite in their words…that I can forgive easily.

Other times it has taken months for me to forgive.

Months where I found myself biting back words of anger and repeatedly resisting the need to throw their wrongs in their face.  Seemingly endless weeks where talking to the person who hurt me for more than a few minutes took a strength I found I didn’t have at first.

Forgiveness in these times took a lot of venting to the right people, a crap ton of prayer, and a conscious effort multiple times a day to keep putting the work in to move forward alongside the person that caused the hurt.

Forgiveness that called for everyone in the situation to do the work and offer grace to each other over and over again.

Forgiveness like this resulted in a stronger relationship after the healing was finally done, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it left scars behind.

And sometimes, I’ve had to do the work of forgiving all alone.

People in our lives aren’t always ready to try to repair a relationship. Whether through pure ignorance, stubbornness, or simply not giving a damn, sometimes we need to offer forgiveness to people who don’t want it or don’t care if they get it.

These are the times when forgiving is all about healing yourself.

You don’t condone what was done to you.

You will not allow that person back in your life.

But forgiveness must happen anyway so you can move forward and lead the life you deserve.

Grit and grace.

True forgiveness takes time.

Forgiveness and the journey to get there will look different in every situation.

It is not a straightforward process. There will be stops and starts, leaps forward and stumbling backward…again and again.

Forgiveness is easier when you ask for help.

Help from the person who wronged you.

Help from God through prayer.

And help from caring, supportive people around you that have your best interests at heart.

Grit and grace.

Photo Credit: Skyla Lee Photography   Willie Petersen

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