Forgiveness   Leave a comment

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Why is it that forgiveness seems to be such a difficult thing for people?  I do not think that there has been one person alive (okay, maybe one) that has not had some struggle with forgiveness.  When we feel we have been wronged, we have a desire to exact a price, to receive some type of retribution.  There are times when we are able to move past whatever has occurred rather quickly and other times when we seem incapable of moving past.  So why is forgiving and moving on so difficult?

First, let me say that I do not have a complete answer to this question.  If I did, then forgiveness would not be a struggle for me and I could easily help others in this area.  I struggle with forgiveness often.  I would say that one of the main reasons that forgiveness is difficult is because there are emotions involved.  The timeliness of our ability to forgive is impacted by the level of hurt (an emotion) which has occurred.  The deeper the hurt, the longer it takes us to even consider forgiving someone.

I think that another reason forgiveness is difficult is due to our inability to forgive ourselves.  When we cannot experience forgiveness in our own lives, it is very difficult to extend forgiveness to others.  Sometimes the behaviors of others which cause us hurt and pain are behaviors that we struggle with in our own lives.  When we are the ones impacted by others’ behaviors, we are reminded of the guilt of our own.  This reminder surprisingly causes not a quick desire to forgive (as it probably should) but instead to lash out.  In some strange way we feel if we attack the other person for the behavior, we can deflect our dislike of our own behavior.

Today I am reminded of a line from Scripture:  “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”  (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

I would be very interested in your thoughts on why it is so difficult to forgive.


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