What does forgiveness mean to you? How do you define it?
My husband and I were asked this today in therapy. Now before you jump to ideas and think he and I are having martial problems that need forgiving; we aren’t. Is our marriage perfect? No. However, we don’t go to marriage counseling. We go to “life is messy and we would like a person with an outside perspective to walk with us through it” counseling. Not that there is anything wrong with marriage counseling. I think it is a great resource. I just want to be clear so you can understand us just a little.
So we were asked this question “What does forgiveness mean?” I had to think about it because I know what it means but I wasn’t sure how to best describe it.
This is basically what I came up with … Forgiving is freeing yourself, and really the other person also. You don’t even have to tell the other person you forgive them. When you do, the atmosphere and aura change and it positively impacts both of you. Freeing yourself means letting go and moving forward. You are done. You don’t forget, but you leave it. You are free.
Mark said something similar … you stop feeding into whatever “it” is and you let it die. You move forward. You don’t forget but you leave it in the past.
Our person reminded us it is actually a financial reference (I had totally forgotten this!). The debt is whipped clean. It is gone. You are free.
They all go together. Forgiving helps you and the person who hurt, wronged, or whatever you.
Something pretty heavy and serious happened to us this summer and the actions of one person (not Mark or I) damaged us. We were shaken and hurt to the core. We were left with an enormous gaping hole of hurt. Life is messy and this was the biggest mess yet.
We were asked what will happen if we forgive (person)? How will (person) respond? Does (person) realize forgiveness is even needed?
So we are pondering this.
We were also asked what would happen if we symbolically bury the hurt in the back yard (although I think funeral pyre is more dramatic if we are going for symbolism). If (person) is there to observe will the impact of what happened and how it affected us finally be realized (person thinks simply forgetting and moving on is easy to do, we think otherwise). Will it help with forgiveness? Will it help us be able to stop carrying baggage we don’t want but have no idea how to put down?
It will be an interesting 2 weeks as we figure this out and do an additional assignment we were challenged with. Think about this (and share with me if you want) what does forgiveness in your life look like? What does it mean? Have you ever needed to be forgiven for something serious? Have you ever needed to do the forgiving? What happened when you were forgiven or forgave? Are you free? Or are you still carrying the baggage (I promise not to judge because I still carry mine)?