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Sunday
Sep202009

Forgiving, Redefined

As I recently listened to an acquaintance talk about her ex boyfriend, the cruel things he'd said upon their breaking up, what a miserable attitude he has, how much he'd hurt her and so on and so forth, we came to the most amazing part of the conversation, the part where she said that she forgave him because he was just, well, an unfeeling ignorant person, not worthy of a second thought. It was this conversational exchange that got me to thinking about the idea of forgiveness and how we apply it in our lives.

The Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary describes forgiving as "allowing room for error or weakness". Clearly, my acquaintance was allowing room for her ex-boyfriend to exist, lots of room, as in keep a wide berth, I never want to see you again room. Forgiveness, used in this application, is a concept carefully and sometimes, as in my acquaintance's case, angrily placed on top of judgment. It is the metaphoric equivalent of placing a lamp on the elephant in the room and hoping the pacoderm will pass for a side table. One must, eventually, deal with the elephant.

At a much deeper level, forgiveness can effortlessly arise when we are brutally honest about our participation in a relationship gone wrong, when a true understanding of contributing human frailities and the dynamics of human exchange give rise to compassion for the human condition. At this level of depth, forgiveness serves to dissipate the original judgement entirely and can literally transform life.

 

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Reader Comments (2)

If you can truly forgive, you can do just about anything.

October 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Walker

In terms pf spiritual self-gifting, forgiveness does break open the heart to all sorts of joy and wonder.

October 8, 2009 | Registered CommenterConnie Assadi

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