The Forgiveness Struggle

I am not Gail. This bit of information is probably obvious, and I hope not too disappointing. I am her substitute for her next two blogs as life presents her with a busy schedule. I know that I have big shoes to fill here, but don’t worry; I’ve got some kleenex we can stuff into the toes, and I think it’ll be a fit.


In the days rolling up to this blog, I have thought a lot about topics to write about: hope, disappointment, clean slates, kids, gift cards, and dry oranges. As I pondered all of these wonderful choices, there was just one that kept screaming out to me. It’s a confession, so it’s not the one I would have chosen, but it’s the one that has been chosen for me. It’s this: I am struggling to forgive.

I won’t go into details because this isn’t a passive-aggressive play at gossiping my angst out. It’s instead a heartfelt desire to share where I’m at and to move on. It’s a step towards humility and a confession that I don’t have it all together (just in case in the five seconds you’ve known me on this blog you were deceived).

Forgiveness is at the backbone of Christianity, and my struggle to forgive feels shaming. Like I didn’t listen in church, haven’t read my Bible, and don’t know that if Christ forgives, then so can I. It’s just that the battle to let go of the anger is as real as the pain that put me here.

I’ve been struggling for weeks now, but I keep on because I know that it’s not in vain. And I see something new lately, the problem isn’t just to say, “You’re forgiven.” Words are easily spoken but to mean them calls for me to let go and die—not so easy.

The way I see it, forgiveness always brings about a death. Look at the Israelites and their sacrifices for atonement. Then Christ himself dying on the cross. The death in my situation is to myself, my pride, my anger, my sense of judgment.

Ah, but I do find comfort in Christ’s struggle as well. As I pray, journal, and meditate, I go back to the Garden of Gethsemane, and I see that forgiveness will mean agonizing before we can finally say, “Not my will but Thine.” The battle is really in dying to what I want and accepting what God has.

I struggle to forgive. I confess, but I pray that you’ll pray with me on this. And if you struggle too, may you find some hope in a God that cried out in the pain that forgiveness calls for but still went to the cross.

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