Continued Forgiveness…

Posted by Brandi Wilson

I recently read a story in a book entitled “Calm My Anxious Heart” that I knew I had to share with you ladies. The story is about Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, and teaches a lesson on forgiveness I was desperate to hear.

One day Clara was reminded of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before.  But she acted as if she had never heard of the incident! “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked.  “No,” came Clara’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” She had made a conscious choice to forgive a vicious deed, a conscious choice to continue forgiving when reminded of the deed.  By replying, “I distinctly remember forgetting it,” Clara Barton was saying, “I remember choosing to forgive and I still choose to forgive.”

Usually I do pretty well with forgiveness… but sometimes it that act of continuing to choose to forgive that gives me problems.

When I run into the person who caused pain at the grocery store.  When the family who left our church chooses to come back like nothing happened.  When I hear a third party discussing the hurt.

But the bible teaches us that forgiveness is not a one time act… but a gift we must choose to continue to give.

16 thoughts on “Continued Forgiveness…

  1. peggy

    “Continuing to choose”….. yes. That’s the key. Forgiving is of the heart, but it’s not emotion based or connected. When I heard this concept the other day it really hit me. We can choose to forgive EVEN when our hearts are having a hard time with the issue. It’s an act of faith.

  2. Stephanie Shouse

    Please pray for me about this. I have been hurt by two close friends and quite a few church members who have left us. It’s been almost a year and just about the time I think I’ve mastered forgiveness, I drive by their house or see their kids at school and all the hurt, anger, & even bitterness surfaces. Working on CONTINUING to choose to forgive…

  3. Charity

    Thank you for sharing that… this past Saturday we went to a wedding at our previous church and had a good time. We left that church with good graces and well wishes but we had also experienced a lot of living there… I loved seeing those I care about but there were many there that were/are on the “I don’t know where you fell” list and several that we know where they fell… Stephen and I talked about it on the way home and I admitted that the way I deal with the uncomfortableness of those that were on the later two list. I love knowing that as I’m smiling to one of ‘those people’ that I am causing them great discomfort because they were daggone ugly and I’m treating them kindly. It’s petty… but I love it.

    BUT… somewhere deep inside, I know it’s not right and your post nailed me! I may be alright on the forgiveness but I’m still holding onto the misdeeds… argh. Will have to work on and pray through the forgetfulness… (If I can forget to buy my third child a birthday present I’m sure I can forget a misdeed… I’m sure of it. :o)

  4. Heather Moore

    Hi Brandi,

    I am so glad you posted this. I do much better with forgiveness when the offense is against me. When the offense is against my husband or our ministry, then forgiveness really trips me up. However, I recently read a book (that I have already committed to re-read on summer vacation) that has been life transformational on the subject of forgiveness. It is called, Total Forgiveness, by RT Kendall.

    After reading it, I know for sure it should be on the reading list of every PW!

  5. Alyson

    Ugh. We are currently in the middle (or maybe the end?) of a messy, ugly situation in which there is much forgiveness to be sought and given. My human instinct is to chuck it all and get jobs at Target. However, that is not what the Lord has planned. I had it out with the Lord on Sunday, He won, and I walked away with a weird peace that the Lord can make any situation glorious. And I believe that He is in the process of doing that.
    Wow, this got long. Anyhoo, all that to say this: Hurting people hurt people, and forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt someone for hurting me. I think it is a daily thing, to not let it take a foothold, even a toehold, in my thought life. Hard? yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

  6. Brandi Wilson Post author

    Definitely praying for you Stephanie… I’m sorry you’ve been living with such hurt. Praying you can distinctly remember forgetting it!

  7. Brandi Wilson Post author

    I’ve been guilty of some of those “petty” moments and actions myself, Charity!!

  8. Brandi Wilson Post author

    Heather… I’m in total agreement… hurt my husband or cause trouble at the church and choosing to forgive becomes a bit more challenging!!!

  9. Brandi Wilson Post author

    Alyson… we had a situation about 6 weeks ago that really made me think the same thing. I seriously considered asking Pete to get a sells job and I’d work at an ice cream store! 😉

    But in the end, you’re right, it’s absolutely worth it!

  10. Aimee

    I am a reformed non-hugger! 😉 I did not grow up in a “huggy” family but somewhere along the line (I think it was my babies) I became a full-fledged lover of hugs!!

    I live in the South too, where everyone waves to everyone even if you haven’t got the slightest idea who they are. So, most people are huggers! Ministry has also helped to make me a hugger. I usually wait for them to make the “first move” if I don’t know them well but I have guessed wrong many times if I tried to “go in first”! =)

    Oh well, what can you do? I think an uncomfortable hug is better than no hug at all!?!

  11. Aimee

    AHHH! I was switching back and forth between posts and posted to the wrong topic!! Where’s the delete button! Sorry!

  12. Pingback: Is That the Front Door or the Back? « Confessions of a Not So Perfect Pastor's Wife

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