There has been a lot of good stuff written about forgiveness this Easter time. Forgiveness is something we can do for another person and forgiveness is something we do for ourselves – something which helps us to move on with our lives.
I am convinced that moving on is an important part of forgiveness. If someone has wronged you and you forgive them it doesn’t automatically mean that things will go back to the way they were before the perceived wrong occurred. When we forgive a new thing happens – perhaps a healing or a liberation or a means of moving on, even changing a pattern of behaviour which has become damaging.
It my case the situation involved a friend who behaved badly towards me. Although I forgave the specific incident, I did not want to pick up the friendship where we had been before the incident happened. It was time to draw a line under it and move on with our lives. However, to my former friend I am a terrible person. In her mind, forgiveness means returning to something which is now long gone – restoration. For me forgiveness meant acknowledging what had happened – drawing a line under the past and moving on to the new.
As a further example, I experienced a rupture in another friendship many years ago. The bust up was huge and significant and the fall out was painful and damaging for us both. Yet something new happened. In the years of silence, we both learned the meaning of forgiveness and we picked up the friendship again at a different time in our lives. We still remember the past, but it is the past.
I don’t believe we forgive and forget. Forgiveness means living with what has happened, learning from it and moving on, believing that a new thing can and will happen.
I would be interested to hear other people’s views or experiences of forgiveness. Here is a interesting one on peopleforothers.
Photo is ‘going our separate ways’ by RebekahSfD on Flickr