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Jun 13, 2018

Small Coins of Grace

Forgiveness is a funny thing. Sometimes its not the big crisis that plague us but rather the little simple ones.
In the not too distant past, I suffered what most would consider a fairly significant betrayal from a trusted person. Of course, the normal anger and hurt was associated with the incident, but I found myself giving forgiveness reasonably quickly. That did not instantly remove the pain, and must of that had to be processed through in an emotional way. However, I reached the point of letting go of my bitterness towards the other in a relatively short period of time. I hold no ill-will and believe that any justice of the incident is God's place to serve and not mine. To further clarify, I don't even need to sit and wait on God to dispense it because it is nothing I need to own or hold anymore.
However, there is another teeny tiny thing I've discovered recently which I have held in contempt. It's a separate matter, but the irony is it is not even a painful event - and I even "won" the conflict. I won't share the issue directly, but I'll compare it to having a debate with a flat-earther who refuses agree with anything common together. Imagine this person refusing to agree we are standing on the earth at all. And to top it off, that person rebukes and calls anyone names who trusts the science of a spherical earth. Likely, you would have same reaction as I did; the situation is laughable - and I laughed about it. There are so many flaws in the person's thinking that the issue is no longer an issue, and I have incontestably won the debate among any observers. No hurt; no loss; no embarrassment. What was there even to forgive?
There's the trick. I was refusing to forgive this person for being wrong, for being stupid, for not agreeing with me. Has that ever happen to you? Worse, I found myself mocking that person, talking about that person in absentia, laughing at that other person's ignorance. And doing that for days and days after the initial argument. I found that I wouldn't let it go. It wasn't pain. It wasn't bitterness. But I wouldn't let it go. And I discovered I have not forgiven that other person. I was still waiting for that person to be judged wrong, for karma, God, the universe or something to balance out the ledger. And I was withholding forgiveness until that person apologized and admitted wrongdoing.
What hubris on my part! I had the courage to blindly release a serious and painful conflict, but I refused to forgive someone over the silliest situations. I would not let it go. I belittled the other person and viewed said person as lesser than me. Now I must face the irony of me needing to ask for forgiveness when I was "clearly in the right" but I failed to have compassion, love or humility. I can write off the million dollar debt, but I will track that dime you borrowed.
What a moment to realize how ego-maniacal and how very far from perfect I am. Clearly, God isn't finished with me yet - as I still have much to learn.

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