Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
- Micah 7:18-19
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
- Matthew 6:14-15
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
- 2 Corinthians 2:5-7
I wrote an ill-advised post not long ago, not terribly bad, but a bit uncomfortable. It was a short story that I was not proud of, and I deleted it. But it seems that some of my former readers are just that … “former”. I could have included James 3 about taming the tongue and I guess that extends to what we write but I started thinking about forgiveness. Jesus commands us to forgive or we are not forgiven. Sometimes that is hard. The pain runs deep. Sometimes, the person is next door or a family member and the abuse or pain is continual.
But sometimes, it is easier to move. But does distance constitute forgiveness. You may have accomplished a removal of the continuous pain, but can you forgive the past hurt.
About a month ago, Rev. Dave Peever asked a really tough question in Hurt People Hurt People. Here is a link. He says that we can take the high road and forgive the person who hurt us, but if we are hurt and there is a tendency to hurt people once we are hurt, how to we eventually heal – so we do not, down the road hurt someone else?
But back to the distant person, due to us moving away? Have you really forgiven? If you went back to visit, could you treat them as if nothing had happened? Will the close proximity bring back all the hurt?
In the secular world, there is no room for forgiveness. You did something wrong thirty years ago, you are still wrong. Even if your grandfather did something wrong, you are wrong by extension. You are cancelled. You are ghosted.
And when it comes to something on the internet, ghosting does not allow for apologies, and refusing to visit someone’s site for a single off post does not seem like forgiveness.
While I may have offended people in the past and I did not even know it, I know that I have been offended on occasion by something someone wrote. Ghosting, cancelling, or simply clicking the button to not follow does not ensure forgiveness. And maybe that author just had a bad day.
I hope that those who have been made uneasy by something I wrote find it in their hearts to forgive, but I have a few people that I need to search for on the internet myself. Was I being judgmental? Was I being too harsh? And while I am at it, there are several people in my distant past that I still write about the pain and hurt. Some are passed on. I must resolve that I have forgiven. Knowing them shaped the me, that is me today, for good or bad, and God makes all things work for the good to those who love Him, so even when it hurts. God has used it for my good. There is no reason not to forgive.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.