“What other heart would let itself be broken every time until he healed mine?” Natalie Grant
This week’s entry has been hard for me to write. Mostly because I know I’m supposed to write about forgiveness and broken relationships in my own life. And I hate admitting that I don’t have all my relational ducks in a row, and that I sometimes have a hard time with forgiveness. Not that I WANT to have a hard time forgiving. And really, I’m usually pretty good at forgiveness. But there ARE a couple relationships in my life where I have a hard time forgiving. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I WANT to forgive. I have said nights full of prayers and cried a bucket of tears, begging God to help me forgive. And some days are better than others, but for the most part, I’m still angry and hurt and vengeful. And that’s not who I want to be.
But I have prayed, and pleaded, and still forgiveness hasn’t come. And I’ve done it all. I’ve prayed to forgive. I’ve NOT prayed for forgiveness and simply tried to focus on the good. I’ve begged for God to HELP ME forgive. I’ve acted like I’ve forgiven, in hopes that I’ll fool my heart into doing just that. I’ve made “good aspects of this person” lists and I’ve given gifts and I’ve tried seeing things from their point of view. But none of it has worked.
And I’m not sure why.
The only thing that makes any sense is some advice a dear friend, a sister really, gave me. She said, “Well, maybe it’s a cancer thing,” referring to a friend of hers who had lived for a while with cancer, and then eventually went home to heaven. In her friend’s case, everyone near the situation had to live with pain for a while, and God seemed to do little to stop the pain. God could have healed the cancer. God could have granted a quick, easy death. But He didn’t.
For whatever reason, He asked my dear friend, and her dying friend, and all of their friends surrounding them to live in that pain for a while. To embrace it. To learn from it.
And I’m not sure why the pain of my being able to forgive is a pain God wants me to live through, but it’s the only thing that makes sense. Except, I’m not sure it’s exactly that I can’t forgive. It’s more of a having to forgive every day, multiple times, for what is done against me time after time. So, it’s more of a constant forgiveness.
And I’m no good at that. In fact, I’m downright awful at it. But, but it’s what God does for us, isn’t it? He steps into our mess, and asks us to love Him, desires – no, LONGS, for us to love Him – despite the fact that we are going to hurt Him day after day, hour after hour, usually in very similar, repeat offenses. And that’s hard to forgive. But He does it. Because He loves us.
And, while He’s eternity-times more patient than I am, I bet sometimes He gets frustrated with me when I do that to Him over and over. Especially when His deepest desire is just that I love Him, and love Him well. Love Him in a way that He longs for.
I don’t do that well.
But I’ve been thinking: maybe, in not healing this wound of constantly being hurt over and over, God’s allowing me to feel His heart for me. He’s allowing me to know what it feels like to deeply love a sinner.
In which case, I wish – no, deeper than that – that I had never sinned, that I would learn from my mistakes, that He would be the one I desire most of all. That He would always be my heart’s desire. That I would pursue a relationship with Him with everything in me. Unfortunately, I get distracted way too easily.
And that’s beginning to break my heart. Maybe, just maybe, when I finally begin to just a little bit grasp the deep, crazy love God has for me, I’ll be able to forgive – over and over – the pain inflicted on me by someone who doesn’t know how to love me well.