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The Pain of Forgiveness

Following up on my previous entry, there is an idea that is perhaps the glue to the “Dark Side of Love” (if you haven’t yet, please read the previous entry first). In it, I attempt to express the Pain and long suffering that genuine love must endure. But how? What’s required through love such that we may be able to endure? Ok, so here we go…

In a series of radio talks that were eventually adapted into a book in 1952, CS Lewis points out that “everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive…” That’s true- in it’s conception, forgiveness sounds lovely, but living it out is something entirely different. And by the way, Lewis was referring to the atrocities of World War II. Try and let that sink in for a second.

And over 50 years later, the vulnerability researcher Brené Brown extends that idea adding that “Forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act; it’s the process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.”

Now take a deep breath.

It’s not “forgetting or condoning”- meaning the classic phrase “forgive and forget” is false. It’s Truth. It’s acknowledging the Truth of our Pain that’s a necessary and fundamental part of forgiveness.

Again, take a deep breath.

Because merely acknowledging the Pain isn’t sufficient enough, for genuine forgiveness also requires transcending. To “transcend” means to “move beyond” or “overcome” or “rise above.” It’s not just acknowledging the Pain, it’s moving beyond, overcoming, and rising above that Pain.

So what we’re faced with then, is acknowledging the Truth of the Pain that’s been caused against us. It’s the Truth that is the necessary ingredient of genuine Forgiveness and sacrificial love. It doesn’t minimize or avoid the Pain, rather it embraces and embodies it. Forgiveness mourns. It grieves. It cries. It hurts. And by transcending the Truth of our Pain, we find the path of reconnection and reconciliation leading back to closer relationship with one another.

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