Go back and read yesterday’s list of what un-forgiveness looks like, then let’s get real.
Okay, let’s get real for a second. If you say you’ve forgiven someone but you do any of those things on that list, you are having a non-forgiveness moment. It’s okay to have moments of non-forgiveness. It’s part of being human. I think it does us a disservice to think about forgiveness solely in terms of “it happened” or “it didn’t happen.” You can have moments of either. You can oscillate back and forth. It’s quite fluid.
The number one criticism I’ve received with this theory so far is that it makes forgiveness “too easy.” I think that’s wrong. There’s not a person I know who avoids every item on this list. You may think your emotions are totally in line, and you’ve totally forgiven someone, but if you do any of these things to the wrongdoer, you’re not as “good” as you appear to be in your mind (this is also okay- I’m not interested in the appearance of goodness. I’m interested, as we all should be, in honesty.). This is not an easy theory at all. It is a much higher level of accountability than any other theory I’ve seen.
Forgiveness is something we have to continue to choose over time. So, I’m not suggesting that doing any of those things on the list automatically makes you a bad forgiver, or that you’re in trouble. I’m suggesting that it’s easy to overlook our actions when it comes to the people we say we’ve forgiven, and we tend to let ourselves off the hook. We’re going to slip up and we’re going to make mistakes. The point is, don’t act high and mighty about what a good forgiver you are. Exercise a little humility, and acknowledge that forgiveness must continue to be chosen and displayed if we are going to view ourselves as forgiving types.
Now I’m guessing the theory sounds too hard. Not worry. Tomorrow we’ll discuss the limits of forgiveness.