Do We HAVE To Forgive?

Almost five years ago now, someone who I had once admired, despite obvious flaws, said something to me that was not only very inappropriate, but was said at a most inappropriate time. In the time since, that situation pops into my head randomly, and each time I replay it in my memory, my sense is that I am not ready to forgive it yet. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help me to find forgiveness when that person has never apologized nor even hinted at some sense of remorse or acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Because of social media and familial obligation, I have a very limited contact with this person and we have not spoken directly to each other since this event happened.

Because of the amount of psychological training I have under my belt, I know that the concept is that we need to forgive but are never forced to forget. All of that training insists that I believe that not forgiving induces that the person who wronged is still “in control” of me in some way. And it’s true that I have forgiven others of more traumatic and life-changing wrong-doings done towards me. Why is this one so difficult?

I’m realizing lately that it isn’t anger that I truly feel, but disappointment. This is yet another straw in the camel’s backpack of someone who touts Bible-banging, righteous Christianity continuously, and what was said was, I believe, the exact opposite of what Christianity is supposed to mean. Having grown up in a small church where, not only was everybody’s business everybody’s business, but gossip behind peoples’ backs was rampant; it felt like this was just another example of fake Christianity. I’m fortunate to know some people who truly live their Christianity by deed far more than word, but finding another hypocrite hiding under the wing of Christianity still seems to cut like a knife.

Should I forgive this person? Probably. And maybe in time, I will. But I’d rather stand with my feet in cold ocean water stating that I have trouble with faith issues than stand on some pedestal proclaiming, by word, of a devout faith and showing, by example, that it’s a farce. And if my inability to find forgiveness never changes, I’ll know, at least, that I have been more honest in my faith than this person is. And I’m deciding that I’m okay with that!

This is going to take some work….