I woke up to a song from the band 10th Avenue North. I like it. It is about Forgiveness.
I think that the process of forgiveness is often misunderstood. People tend to think in terms of “Forgive and Forget” and that this simply means that one person says, “I am sorry” and the other person says, “That’s okay, I forgive you.”
On the one hand, that is true. That is what happens. But getting from hurt to healing often means digging a whole lot deeper within that over-arching summary of the exchange. The reality is, it can be very easy to rush the process.. . and easy to “not go there” with the harder places of honesty and pain we must eventually name in order to get to the fresh air of truly holistic, life-giving healing.
There is a very simple little 3-step memory tool that I like to use both in my personal life and when I counsel others in this area. It comes from author Walter Wangerin, Jr.
While he discusses, in much more detail, the larger dynamics and communication needed for healthy forgiveness, he summarizes the whole exchange this way:
1. Give Up (The Right to be Angry)
2. Give Notice (Of your Hurt and Pain)
3. Give Gifts (The Gift of Forgiveness and Reconciliation)
There is a lot to learn from that simplicity. In the next few blogs, I will share some reflections on this process. Things I have learned, things I still struggle with, and things that have helped.
This much I know. The one who is most “freed” in the process of forgiveness is the forgiver. But sometimes it is a tough thing to do… and depending on your situation, there is good reason why it is difficult. I’ll share some thoughts on that in the next few posts as well.
For now, watch this video and listen to the song I woke up to this morning, by 10th Avenue North. It is a good place to get started…