Personal

Forgiveness is Weakness

I do not hate you. I resent you. I forgave you, it is true, but I find that even looking at your name printed on a page or on my computer screen causes old feelings of hurt and betrayal to well back up inside of me. I thought that I had moved past that, but that was only my non-confrontational nature pretending, sugar-coating reality. "Sure, of course I forgive you! Jesus demands it of me, and I'd be a fool not to give it away!"

Maybe I do hate you.

Maybe forgiveness for what you have done to me is too easy for you.

You deserve my hatred, my disgust. At the very least, you deserve to have the same thing you did to me revisited back upon you.

You should be betrayed. You should be lied to. You should have cherished relationships get destroyed. You should be surrounded by people telling you to get over it, to move on, to forgive and forget. You should have people trivilize your pain, the hurt you feel from the single worst thing that anyone has ever done to you. And you should carry this around within you, like a stone inside your chest, for years, not telling anyone how much it consumes you, for fear of them starting another round telling you to get over it.

Then you would know what it has been like to be me.

This is the face of resentment. I resent you. I cannot get away from you. This wash of negativity, of bitterness, smacks me in the chest like a wave, causing me to doubt, to question the love and loyalty of those around me. It ripples throughout my life, and I cannot get away from it.

Forgiveness is not enough, I have learned. It is the "clean-swept house" where the evil is cast out, but the emptiness remains. OK, I know that I do not hate you, not hate, but this deep resentment reflects the lack of affection that we used to have for one another, the brotherhood and friendship we shared, that ought to be there still.

So, I am going to do the only thing I have left to do.

I am choosing to love you.

Forgiveness is, indeed, weakness, if it is not held fast by love. Christ taught me these few years that without the good supplanting the place that evil once held sway, resentment wins, and thus, evil wins. But when forgiveness is offered on the sacrifical altar of self-donation, the emptiness is filled. I know not how quickly, but it is filled.

I have nothing to offer. I have nothing more to give, except my own bitterness. So the only way that I can make an offering, a donation, is to make a withdrawl "from Christ's fullness", letting His Sacred Heart replace my broken one, and then give it all away.

"Why do you look for the living among the dead?"

Forgiveness is a dead thing without love. Love is confrontational, embracing, and even self-effacing, if that is what it takes to shine forth the humility of Jesus. 

So maybe I do resent you, but tonight I am going to start loving you. I'm going to let the only emptiness in my life be the empty tomb. I'll talk to you tomorrow, because He is risen indeed from the dead. Alleluia. Risen to a place where resentment is impossible.