Holden Village, August, 2003


Forgiveness | About Me
We remember the past and can't change it

"One of God's better jokes on us was to give us the power to remember the past and leave us no power to undo it. ... It would give us some comfort if we could only forget a past that we cannot change.  But the ability to remember becomes an inability to forget when our memory is clogged with pain inflicted by people who did us wrong."  (from Chapter 1)


The only remedy for this pain is forgiveness.  But it becomes very difficult to forgive when our ideas about forgiveness amount to a pile of misunderstandings, so that our very desire to forgive becomes the obstacle that prevents us from doing so.


If you're like me, you've been brought up with a lot of guilt and obligation around the subject of forgiveness.

  • "Don't be judgmental.  Judge not, and you will not be judged."
  • "Its your own fault.  You made him do it."
  • "Be ye kind one to another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another."
  • "You had a part in what happened too.  Its at least half your responsibility."
  •  "You must understand him.  He cant help what he does."
  • "You havent really forgiven someone unless you have forgotten the past."
  • "You havent really forgiven someone unless you are reconciled with him."
  • "Youre taking this too hard.  You have to develop a thick skin."
  • "God forgives you.  You should do no less for others."

Smedes dispels many of our common, and erroneous, beliefs about forgiveness, setting us free to rethink them, and perhaps free enough to actually begin the process. 


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