This won’t be a very large post, mostly because I think the truths I’ll write about here are pretty obvious. Of course, I doubt if most of the stone throwers or grudge carriers will get very much from this. I know, chances are slim and none. For them, it’s just too much fun being judgmental, playing the victim card, or just being plain old mean and angry. I have to be honest with the fact that I used to be one of them. On the outside chance that they may find something new, maybe wake up, or at least finally acknowledge something they already know that is, here it is.
Forgiveness, the act of forgiving. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. Not always easy to do, but is always it’s own reward when it’s done with sincerity and not misused.
How do you “misuse” forgiveness you may ask? Easy… Especially if you are a mean spirited, cold hearted, self-centered person to begin with. You forgive someone for something and then you wait. I think golf clubs and a golf club bag are good components for an analogy to illustrate how it’s done. Let’s begin…
First you need a good bag. One that will be easy to carry, as will get heavier with each club that gets added to it. You may eventually want to add wheels to it. Some are so good at this that they will acquire a caddy or two, or even invest in a golf cart at some point. Partly out of necessity because the load just gets to be too much for one person, but also out of greed. It takes a lot of work to collect clubs, and some just won’t give up a single one, ever. It also needs to be infinitely expandable, but that maybe already be obvious? You won’t want to run out of room for a new golf club at some point, would you? That may all sound like a lot to do and think about. In reality, for most that end up misusing forgiveness, it happens happening hardly noticed and felt because they are already there. Almost forgot to mention this too… Whether you just carry one bag for each person, or just one bag for everyone, it really doesn’t matter. Bent, twisted, damaged, clubs work just as well and often on more than one person. It’s up to you, depending only on your personal preference and skill.
Now, what good is this empty bag you are lugging around!? You carry it, and wait just a short while. Then BAM!!! Someone has wronged you in some way! Let’s start with something smaller and simpler. Someone has just insulted you, embarrassed you, hurt your feelings in some way. Of course, you can’t just let that go, you need a club! First, you let them know what they did that was wrong. They apologize, make amends, beg your forgiveness and you give it to them. Bingo! You just got yourself your first club, even if it’s just a putter, which isn’t very large. The smaller clubs may do less damage, but they sting way worse that the large ones like irons and woods. You put your putter in your bag and go along your merry way.
Some time later, maybe this same person wrongs you again in some way. You know this won’t be a bad thing for you. Here is how this plays out…
Having them on the hook for what happened just now isn’t enough to satisfy you. You are upset over the current circumstance, maybe rightly so, but you decide it’s time to profit. You want more clubs, your bag is still too light. So now, you don’t just deal with the situation at hand. What you do is take out that putter and start beating this person over the head for what’s going on right now AND what ever happened to cause you to get that club in the first place. That putter is the forgiveness that you had given to them, but never let go of. You’re already beating them over the head for what ever happened just now, so you also start beating them over the head again over something you had forgiven them for. It won’t take long, especially if they are a decent person to begin with. Before you know it, they apologize, try to make amends, and ask for forgiveness again.
That was a piece of cake, wasn’t it? Now, you have TWO clubs in your bag! one for that other time, and a shiny new one for right now! Who knew it could be just this easy?
Time and life go on. Before you know it, you’ll have a large bag full of many clubs of all sizes. You’ll also become very good at using them to both punish and get even more clubs. And yes, a large bag, or many bags, with many clubs, it’s a sort trophy in itself. It shows others how many times you’ve been wronged in so many ways. It gets you sympathy and attention also, because most people will see you as a victim. Look at how many clubs you have! See how many times you’ve been wronged and have forgiven! What they don’t see is how you most likely got those clubs, how you’ve misused them to get more clubs. Having those clubs, being the victim who victimized in return. That can be intoxicating, especially if you are the kind of person the enjoys the pain and suffering of others.
You got your bag. You have your collection of clubs. It doesn’t matter who wants to play, because you just can’t wait for the slightest reason, dare, provocation, to get teed off. It’s what you do, what makes you go, and what you live for. (Yes, that was an intentional pun)
Here is the point of all this, what I believe to be the truths of genuine forgiveness.
First, in order to undo bad things, good things would also have to be undo-able as well. If undoing anything was possible, there would just be a huge, chaotic mess, of things being done and undone, thereby making everything meaningless. So really, it’s a good thing that we can’t undo anything, isn’t it? Do not expect any balance to exist between good and bad things happening. What ever you get, that’s what you got. Be grateful and make the most of it all, in as positive and nurturing way as you can for yourself and others. Simply put, good and bad are both teachers, but it’s up to us to be the student. Lastly, bad can no more ruin good any more than good can erase bad. One can not enhance or degrade the other. In each moment, we take a step by living in to the next moment. In each step, we make a choice. My advice: Choose wisely and without fear. If you do good or bad, always learn before the next step, because one rule of the universe is that we can’t go backwards. No back tracking allowed! You may be able to retrace, but there is no R on the transmission of life. A step taken, a mile driven. History is made. Mind and heart in unison makes for a good journey.
There are thousands of quotes about forgiveness, and variations of definition. You can do a search for Forgiveness Quotes, and you’ll see for yourself. All colors, flavors, textures, and temperatures.
Here is my take, my feelings, and my view, concerning forgiveness:
When I forgive someone, whether they accept or acknowledge it at all, I’ve made a promise to them and myself that they are forgiven. It’s gone. Not archived, stored, nor made in to a golf club to beat them with at some tempting convenient time in the future. The act of using forgiveness as a weapon is an act that exceeds the wrong of what ever offense was forgiven in the first place. When you take back forgiveness, you break a promise that you made to yourself, to the other person, and to what ever God you may or may not believe in. You just did worse than anything you had forgiven in the first place. Now, you are the cruel one and evil doer, by your own hand. Using something that’s been forgiven as a weapon is one of the most cruel acts I can think off. Why? Because when you break a promise of forgiveness, you also break the trust that was there in order for that promise to be broken. The are no sharper, nor more painful blades, than the jagged edges of broken forgiveness and trust. No better way to make a heart bleed and have love die a slow, painful death, than by using forgiveness as a weapon. Once I forgive someone for something, they stay forgiven. I have my share of scars from others, and Lord knows that others have their share of scars from me.
The most important element of all of this lesson: It takes at least two for one to need forgiveness, but it only takes one to forgive once.
So…. Maybe this wasn’t as short a post as I originally thought and intended it to be? All I can say is, “I tried. Please forgive me.” 🙂