Thursday, September 14, 2006

forgive

"You can forgive someone almost anything. But you cannot tolerate everything... We don't have to tolerate what people do just because we forgive them for doing it. Forgiving heals us personally. To tolerate everything only hurts us all in the long run."

~Lewis B. Smedes~


I have thought about forgiveness quite a bit in my life.....sometimes thinking I have forgiven.

But if I cannot forget.... if in remembering the pain still feels fresh.... have I truly forgiven?

What exactly does it mean to forgive someone?

Forgive:
to excuse for a fault or an offense
to renounce anger or resentment against
to absolve
to refrain from imposing punishment
to refrain from demanding satisfaction

To absolve; to set free or release.

To forgive, I set myself free, free from the pain, free to allow the tears in the fabric of my soul be repaired.

Free to heal.

Perhaps I have truly forgiven.

Will I tolerate more? I tell myself no.

But at times when I look upon the many harms commited on a daily basis, I have to wonder, in the process of forgiving, do we sometimes learn to tolerate too?

There are many things I find intolerable.

I asked though, if I find something intolerable, do I then protect those that are being harmed?

And if I fail to offer that protection, am I not as bad as those providing the harm?

If I turn away in disgust, but do nothing, am I not allowing it to continue?

There have been times that I allowed my empathy for the victim to stop me from speaking out, stop me from stepping in, stop me from halting the intolerable. Why?

Because the victim believes the damage done from my interference would exaberbate the situation. They are able to tolerate what they live with in the hope that less harm will come.

Teetering on the edge of indecision, many times it has all come right in the end, but I still have to ask myself.

What if, what if I had followed where my heart led?

Will I someday find a way to forgive myself for wavering? Can I forgive myself for allowing indecision to win the day? For the intolerable to continue?

so much pain in so many lives because we forgive when perhaps we are tolerating the unforgivable out of love.


5 comments:

polyman2 said...

Please don't be so hard on yourself, my love. We are only human. I too often think of past relationships & friendships I've had over the years. How do we right the wrongs? Can we ever take something back once it's been said or done?
I decided a long time ago never to
"regret" anything I've done. This makes for less stress and guilt.

I think your a really good person,
that is why you suffer from your own conscience. I think only a good person is capable of doing that.

Sunny Delight said...

poly--thank you, but there are times when I believe that I should have done something to right a wrong, and I did nothing....luckily it has turned out okay, but I have this fear that someday, I will feel the need once again to step in... and I won't...and so much harm will happen but because I turned away...hopefully I recognize those times when I must not tolerate and but restrain instead...

Fiona said...

Gosh Sunny...when I read this I think I understood a little more about myself.

I tolerated so much for so long. I forgave, I think, but never forgot. And yet even by not forgetting, I still tolerated. And better tolerated. And excused actions (wow that's forgiving?) that were inexcusable.

I know what you mean about looking away and hoping for the best result. For a while, I let a drunkard take people diving...into a situation of life and death. Until I couldn't live with myself any longer, until I knew that it was only a matter of time until everyone's luck would run out. I thought it had one night when a group he took diving came up without him and I actually put in a call to the coast guard. But up he popped blaming everyone for his own breach of safety rules.

When I finally declared he couldn't work any longer, he took out his anger on me, on our staff, on our dog, on our cats. And he never ever saw that what he was doing was wrong.

And we are supposed to forgive? Or even tolerate? No, there is a limit and we all find it my sweet woman. Every one of us finds it.

Sunny Delight said...

Fi--my hope is that what you say is true.

I have a fear that I am living with.... that someday very soon....I will have to step in, perhaps cause someone I hold dear to feel that I am causing her harm...to stop her from from harming those too young to protect themselves....we have tolerated for too long because someone has always been there to be a buffer before harm has occurred, but someday no one will be there to be that buffer....and for some reason I have the feeling that it will be me who is the instigator of change...and in the long run perhaps that is best...because she will then still trust her grandparents and parents. *sigh*

Fiona said...

Oh hon...tough one...but what can you live with?

I didn't do what was popular I can assure you, there were many who found amusement in his antics. I lost friends over it. I lost him over it and I did love him and care for him.

But I know I did the right thing. I am convinced I stopped something bad from happening in the long run.

The only person looking back at us from the mirror, is ourself.