It Doesn’t Come When You Say So; You Say So When It Comes - Grasshopper
There are so many applications for this observation from The Grasshopper, but probably none bigger than when addressing the topic of forgiveness.
Just because we move our lips and say we forgive doesn’t make it happen. It happens on its own and then we can say so.
When someone sincerely says, “I forgive you” or “I forgive them,” they are announcing their willingness to forgive or a feeling of forgiveness, not the bestowal of forgiveness. We act as though that all we have to do is state our intention and that gives us the power to make it so. That’s hogwash of the highest order.
We don’t have the power to forgive. Forgiveness comes through us, not from us.
We would laugh aloud if someone whom we’ve done a transgression towards turned to us and said, “I grant you passage into heaven.” Who gave them that power?
I believe forgiveness is talked about too much and sought too little.
“Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” is a plea from someone who knows it takes more than lip service to forgive. We have to have a willingness to allow it to come to and through us from some place other than our mind.
The transgressor isn’t the only one who needs to seek forgiveness; we, the aggrieved, need to seek it too.
My business partner just told me a story about a man whose daughter was crippled by an insanely high person who hit her with his car. The court trial of this man was big news in the city they’re from and the father was adamant when he said, “I will never forgive him.” His daughter, on the other hand, went to the trial in her wheelchair and told the driver that she forgave him.
We’ll never know if either of them will ever find forgiveness for the perpetrator, we only have their words. The father’s words suggest an unwillingness to allow forgiveness to arrive. The daughter’s words not only suggest she is willing, but they may also indicate that it has arrived for her.
If it did arrive, what she is truly saying is, “I feel forgiveness in my heart for you” not “You are forgiven.” Saying the latter is treating forgiveness as something we can bestow upon another. We don’t have that power. We can only feel it flow through us and let others know about that feeling.
Christian readers need to look no further than the words of Jesus who knew that forgiveness came from some other place than from him when he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Finally, let me say, “I forgive you if you don’t agree with me.” That’s about as highhanded of a superior statement as I can make to illustrate that what we too often label as forgiveness is fake.
All the best,
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