I finished Art of Forgiving last week.
As a rather poor Christian, who’s trying to do better, I thought that this book might help me forgive some of the people in my life that, well, have done me wrong. Really, there haven’t been that many folks who didn’t give me just what I deserve, but there have been a few that I think went quite above and beyond even “an eye for an eye”, if you know what I mean. And, I know from personal experience, if I don’t learn to forgive them and move on with my life, that resentment will eat me alive. So, in an effort to be true to both my religious beliefs and my own personal integrity, I read this book.
First of all, I was quite relieved to see that the author, who is Christian, did not equate forgiving with being used again. Just because I forgive someone doesn’t mean I should let them walk all over me again and again. That damages one of God’s children, namely myself, and that wouldn’t be right.
Secondly, the author didn’t think I have to particularly like the person to forgive them, either. That’s a little more complicated, but significant. I’ll try to explain here, but it’s probably best to read the book, too. See, I can love someone as a precious child of God, but still not particularly want to spend a lot of “quality time” with them. I can forgive them the wrong they do me, trying in my flawed, human way to emulate Jesus, and still recognize that being with them would not be very conducive to my continued mental health. I forgive them what they do, not who they are.
It’s hard for me to sum up this book and its message this morning, but I really enjoyed reading it and getting some new perspective on forgiving. It has been a challenge to me these last few months, but I’m getting better, one step at a time.
Oh, and I finally picked up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this weekend, too. I know I was trying to be all cool about it, but I read the first ten pages in the parking lot. God, how embarrassing is that!? So much for my high-minded literary pretensions!