Learning How to Forgive and Forget

Proverbs 17:9 NRSV
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

Do we forgive?

Likely, the answer will be "yes," but for many of us, the truth is actually closer to "no." Rather, we hold grudges, withhold our trust, and generally are fairly unforgiving. In fact, for some of us, we cling to our offenses like comfort blankets, consoling ourselves with the idea that somehow withholding our friendship from someone who has hurt us actually deals that person a fatal blow. In reality, unforgiveness hurts us a lot more than it hurts the person at whom we are angry.

The problem, I think, is that we have forgotten how to repent. We teach our children the easy "sorry;" we use it ourselves. It no longer has any meaning. And forgiveness and repentance go hand in hand. In fact, we are so absorbed with the idea of tolerance (rather than repentance) that we are even reluctant to admit to another person that they have hurt us, have offended us. So rather than dealing with that issue and forgiving them, we hang onto our hurt. It's a vicious circle.

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Copyright by Robin L. O'Hare.
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