I forgive you, always. I want there not to be grudges, resentment, bad feeling between us. I’d rather take the pain on myself than pile it on to you. It’s unconditional, in that I deliberately decide not to seek retribution, correction, restoration. I believe that only in letting go the hurt is there any hope of restoration.
What I’m struggling with is trust. I forgive you. I take on the hurt. But nothing changes then: you don’t stop doing it; you will do it again.
So I tell you about the hurt, about how you are harming me. Sometimes you hear it, sometimes you just can’t understand. Regardless, sooner or later you come back to do it again.
So – I have to accept that you will keep on doing it? That the hurt is part of the package? Is that how it goes?
Is hurt – repeated, avoidable, deliberate, insensitive hurt – always a part of the package?
I remember at the end of my marriage (and for quite a while before) I wrestled with what marriage is. Is it inherently painful? Does it mean that I need to absorb what suffering is incurred for me – is that part of love? Is that God’s plan?
I’m not sure that it is. But if it isn’t, then what? How can two people ever be constantly reconciled, never hurting, never making mistakes – never repeating the same mistake? It isn’t possible, right? We’re human, we mess up. So how do we learn to live with it?
This brings me back to the cross, and forgiveness. The whole point is forgiveness, that God, despite our permanent fallibility, loves us so much we can be forgiven, whatever the cost, even Jesus. And we’re supposed to echo that Christ-like forgiveness, right? “Father, forgive him, he doesn’t know what he’s doing” – right? But then what? I mean, there isn’t stuff in the Bible about Jesus getting crucified again; how it was for him the next time he came to be human and be killed. Would he do it again? I think perhaps so. But again and again and again? Presumably, yes. But that’s not me. I’m human. Can I learn true discipleship – to keep on absorbing the pain? Maybe I can. But should I? Is that healthy?
I seem to be in a different place. I seem to be on a journey, spiritually. I find I’m full of questions, asking all the things I never thought to ask before, never challenged when I was being brainwashed as a child. It seems to me that I probably ought to feel foolish for asking these things, but then again, they are things I don’t know, despite a lot of time spent in ‘Christian’ circles of various sorts. So they’re valid questions, to me at least. I’ve been having some help with one of the most fundamental questions I’ve yet come up with (“what was the point of Jesus, exactly?”). And that has been good. I feel as though I have made some progress, though I’m not yet settled at any answers as such. But this time of questioning brings me back to a problem I’ve faced for a while: where do I turn for spiritual guidance? Obviously, I can turn to the Bible, and to prayer, and that’s certainly helpful. But I’m a person with a severe tendency to internalise things in ways that only become more destructive the longer I’m left to my own devices, so I now acknowledge fairly robustly that I need some human help in these things. I’ve always needed others to bounce off, academically, and some of this stuff is academic, amongst other things. I think I’m rather more of an extrovert than I’ve ever realised. So – where to go for guidance, advice? There are problems with turning to my minister. The priesthood of all believers, right? Find an elder, preacher, leader, friend – some one I can trust and whose opinion I can value. Struggling. There are those people, I guess, but I suppose I’m a bit too selective, and they tend to be too busy, or distant (in one way or another) or otherwise unavailable – or I make them unavailable to myself. This is probably a pattern of mine, to be honest. So I follow lots of blogs: I figure that if I find I hit stuff I simply can’t countenance, I just quit following; if I hit stuff I disagree with, it may well be a good opportunity for exploration; if I hit stuff that nourishes me, then I’m a winner. This is ok. It’s good. It gives me lots of different perspectives, angles, views. I like it. But I do crave a real person, one who will talk back to me, who will challenge my thoughts and words, and feed me in those ways. I would love to share that kind of a friendship with someone.
Reading – books, blogs, Bible – here’s the thing: I just end up with more and more questions. Like:
- what’s the virgin birth all about?
- why wasn’t Jesus a girl?
- what’s with all the gnashing of teeth?
- how come Jesus prays to himself (God)?
- if Jesus was all about bringing the Kingdom, rather than all about dying, how come he kept on predicting his death as if it were inevitable?
- what actually matters?
- how can God be both ‘just’ and ‘merciful’?
Silly things. Many more silly things swirling around…silly, and yet, so important!