The Need to Do the Same
My initial response was to dismiss her words. "I know who I am," I thought. And said. I wasn't hurt, but rather stunned.
Then began a period of doubting and questioning. Was there any truth at all in the accusations she had made?
This is a woman who I had ministered to -- many times -- during the course of my work as a hospital chaplain. A woman who asked her husband to call me each time she entered the hospital. A woman who clutched at my hand and asked, tearfully, "Will you pray with me?"
And then, suddenly, all of that was dismissed as "fake."
My period of introspection and conversations with others who have known me a long time allayed my fears. I do know who I am.
Some have suggested that she is mentally ill. Others have pointed to a lengthy pattern of becoming close to someone and then lashing out in a horrible way. There are other theories. But it doesn't really matter now what is going on for her.
What matters is what happens next for me. I haven't seen her for more than six months. But it is inevitable that our paths will cross again. To know how to move forward, I've been reading and studying about forgiveness, gathering a collection of insights from minds far better than mine:
- Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
- Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.
- Everyone makes mistakes. If you can't forgive others, don't expect others to forgive you.
- Never forget the three powerful resources you have available to you: Love, prayer, and forgiveness.
- Forgiving people isn't always about giving them another chance. It's for closure, so that you can move on.
- When you choose to forgive those who have hurt you, you take away their power.
- Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
All good thoughts. Some better than others. And then, of course, there's the real reason: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
I'm working on it.