Pastor Eileen’s sermon last Sunday struck a chord with me. There is a part of me that has a very hard time forgiving certain things. I know Jesus says we should forgive as many times as it takes but at what point do you draw a line? And are the two mutually exclusive? Can a person draw some boundaries and forgive? What happens if the transgressions continue? I happen to believe in accountability. I believe that if there is accountability then forgiveness may be easier. I remember when the awful shooting at a Baptist church occurred in Charleston. I was struck by the people who lost loved ones in an unspeakable horror saying they forgave the shooter only days after their loss. Wow. Would they have been able to forgive if the shooter was allowed to roam free? Somehow I think these lovely, grieving people would have been able to still forgive AND fight against the system that was failing to hold accountability. I don’t know if I have that kind of love and resilience. I struggle with the self-centeredness I see all around. If I have a hard time forgiving that, how in the world would I find the love and strength and clarity of mind and soul to forgive something as awful as murder? But, as Eileen said, “the inability to forgive distorts and destroys community.” We sure do see that happening now and it’s awful. How do we reconcile what is happening? How do we forgive the transgressions we feel are happening? We move in. We get to know the people holding opposing views from us. It’s hard to be mad at someone we like and easier to not forgive someone we hardly know. Another benefit of moving closer is the possibility of compromise or shifting of bias and beliefs. People can usually find some sort of common ground once they get to know one another. Honestly, it’s our only hope.
So, I am going to flex my forgiveness muscle and try to move in closer. I’ve been working on this for a bit of time now and I keep getting pointed in the direction of love. It’s hard work but I hold hope. Until next time, stay well and stay safe and stay loving.
Lynn O’Hara, MS, RD, LPC, Licensed Psychotherapist and Registered Dietitian