Embracing Forgiveness - Part 3

by Elizabeth Carrouth

Deep Hurts Need More Than Two Weeks

So….two weeks turned into five years. I wish forgiveness was a short and direct route but, like pure grieving, I have learned that the deepest of forgiveness has to “have its way with me.” And if this deep-seated hurt was my life lesson in embracing forgiveness, it felt like embracing a porcupine.

I had been deeply wounded by someone I had loved who wanted nothing more than to hurt me and see me suffer. I could pinpoint all the the damaging and deceitful things this person had done, and I was well-versed in taking his inventory. At the time, I had experienced tinges of what God’s Peace felt like and knew that if His Peace was to be an integral part of my life, I must find forgiveness for this man. I lived an emotional roller coaster for years, finding fleeting moments or sometimes days of forgiveness, only to be followed by my taking the resentment back. And each time I took it back, it felt more painful and more uncomfortable. I often wondered what happened to my “two-week promise” but I was determined to go to any length to be rid of this bone crunching “ball and chain”, to stop drinking the poison of resentment thinking the other person would die. I often thought about God’s love for me during my darkest years, how He waited patiently and lovingly for me. And so, I decided to do what He does and I never gave up. I just kept praying for this man. And kept taking it back. But I never, ever stopped praying for him. Five years in, in the midst of a “taking it back” hiatus, I was jolted awake from a dead sleep and I “heard” my Heavenly Father tell me, in a very stern and loud voice, “Pray for Him!” For the next few days, a Peace washed over me that I had never felt before. I had a single moment when I instinctively felt a familiar tinge of resentment, but it passed immediately. The deepest wound of my life had finally healed, and I felt a compassion and love for this man that could only have come from God. He passed away several years ago, but I sense his closeness sometimes and he knows that I have forgiven him and have nothing but love for him.