Forgiveness is hard. It’s hard to ask for. It’s hard to give. It’s harder still when the roles are fuzzy, things are undefined, or the other person involved is gone for one reason or another.
I am someone who readily says, “sorry.” Sorry for taking up space, for getting in your way, for being late, for misunderstanding. But that kind of apology and the one that begets forgiveness are two different things.
At the church I attended in DC, there was a moment when we’d be reciting the prayer of confession. The idea was if you had something between you and someone else, to go make amends. It is a prerequisite for taking communion. But how many of us do it?
We are told, don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t let grudges simmer. Don’t let unforgiveness take root.
There are the big offenses – betrayal, backstabbing, lying, intentional hurts, life-altering moments in our lives that serve as a marker – before this moment and after.
Then there are the little, daily thing. Someone described them as pebbles we put in our pocket. Repeated annoyances, little jabs, words or actions we take offense to, or say/do, because of our brokenness and hurts. Often times they wound us and the person never knows. Do we go back for every little nick? Do we pray for thicker skin? Do we seek a more heavenly perspective? Or do we admit that something hurts and then try to seek out why?
Why does not being included on a group text stoke up jealousy, anger and a sense to just throw in the towel? Because no one likes to be left out. Because I feel like a square beg most of the time and this insignificant action only reinforces it. It’s my own insecurity. So, in my heart, I ask God to forgive my jealousy. I forgive my friends for unintentionally overlooking me and seek my validation not from a group text but from what I know to be true.
But that is hard. As is forgiveness. And, to be honest, whether we are seeking forgiveness or giving it, both can be messy.