I spent Friday night weeping in the back of a room that knows me all to well. It’s a room that has seen my best and my worst.
If walls could speak, I think those could tell you the most about me.
That night, I finally came face to face with a certain reality that has taken me too long to swallow.
So, I just sat there for a bit, with all of it lodged in my throat. But then came Saturday night and those words that have been strangling me with guilt and fear finally came tumbling out.
And right then and there, I realized that I had some forgiving left to do.
God told me that night that He was going to wash it away, that it was time for me to come clean. I told Him that I didn’t think I was ready. So, we just kind of stood there together; He let me throw my tantrum and I let Him hold me while I cried.
The weekend came and went. Monday passed with foggy vision, a fractured heart and a pounding head. This morning, I waited for it and I knew He’d come around
because Tuesday has always been mine and God’s reckoning day.
I never hold back punches and He never keeps quiet.
So, I drove to get a cappuccino because it was rainy and I knew what was coming. I knew I was about to have a bulldozer of truth crash into my morning. And as I expected, right before I got to the Starbucks drive-thru, He came barreling in and made His case.
“When you can’t forgive it is because you’re blind to your own faults.”
Cue the washing. His words were a shower over me, starting to remove some pretty tough stains.
I repeated the words back to Him and waited, knowing there was more to come.
“You’ve always wanted people to make the choice that you would make.”
I sighed and waited for my coffee, getting a little defensive. But maybe it’s because I would have made the better choice.
I could feel Him smile (which is a strange feeling). He always smiles when I start trying to form my own case. He doesn’t even get annoyed; He just stays there, waiting patiently for me to get quiet again.
“You’ve made choices that have broken your own heart. You made the choices you thought you had to, even if it hurt others.”
He was right. Decisions have never been simple for me. There have been times when I made the only choice I knew how to make, and many times I’ve been wrong.
We all face some measure of difficulty that comes with the freedom to choose, and we all get it wrong. So, if and when others get it wrong, forgive them.
Even if their decision breaks your heart and ruins your plans, forgive them.
And sometimes they won’t do the same for you. Sometimes they won’t forgive some of the choices you were forced to make, but even so, forgive them for that.
When you can’t forgive, it means you let yourself forget. You let yourself forget how hard moments of decision are. You forget the weight that pushes on your shoulders when you are forced to choose. You forget how many times you’ve had to beg for grace; how many times you had to pray that people would understand, and that they’d love you anyway.
We have to stop letting hard choices push each other away. It’s time we learn to move on from the fallout, and realize that we are all weak, all broken, that we will all face seemingly impossible forks in the road.
Forgiveness is the product of remembering that at some points, we all end up with our head in our hands.
We all get wounded in the battle of someone else’s decisions.
I think the world needs people who have been injured to come back, limping and wincing, but choosing to say: “I’m willing to fight next to you, even though it got really bloody last time. You are not my enemy, and I still remember all the years we stood fighting side by side.
We all get hurt and we all drag our feet on saying “I’m sorry”. We all spend too much time nursing the wounds of people we love, whose choices hurt us in unimaginable ways. And in our pain, we all forget the times when our own decisions left behind trails of bodies and blood.
We’ve all stood on both sides of choice, and we all need some grace.
And if we don’t figure out how to give that grace, at some point, none of us will end up on the same side.
So, here’s to still not feeling ready, but choosing to let Him wash it away. Here’s to knowing that in the end, forgiveness is the only thing that will ever keep us from fighting our battles alone.