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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.
 

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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Jamie Lath

Jamie Lath is a middle child that has no baby picture without her older sister in it. Even with only two siblings, she grew up with family everywhere because all her aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and even second-cousins lived in her hometown. With forty people at her birthday parties (all relatives) and her sister in every picture, she knows a little about community, and it's everlastingness. This has brought most of her ministry focus into meeting people where they're at, listening closely (especially to those who feel voiceless and like no one is listening), and helping them find God's voice in the mix. Jamie graduated with a BA in Communication Studies from the University of North Texas. Following a year of teaching English in China, she returned to the states to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. She received a Th.M. with a focus on Media Arts. Her background in the arts (ballet, writing, and acting) has given her an understanding of how creative expressions can give people a safe place to begin exploring how to use their voice and how it can touch hearts to hear God’s voice. She also blogs at I just called to say "Olive Juice."

2 Comments

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    Heather A. Goodman

    Thank you so much for being
    Thank you so much for being honest and sharing this. To join your honesty, I’m with ya. I’m having to forgive right now, and I just don’t wanna. I’d rather spit out some email detailing all the rights wronged. I don’t like that phrase forgive us…as we forgive others. Bleck.

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      Jamie Lath

      Encouraging read
      As I’ve been tiptoeing down this road of forgiveness, I found a book that has been a great help in pointing out a few things on the journey. It’s not necessarily new information (because we know the need to forgive already, right?), just nice to have someone remind you in such an empathic way while in the moment. So, if you’re insterested in further reading (and forgiving), try Dare to Forgive by Edward (Ned) Hallowell. It’s good to know we’re not alone!

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