I've talked about forgiveness before. But there are a few things I've come to realize in the last few weeks.
First off, I believe that forgiveness is one of the basics of true Christian living. It is not merely suggested by God, it is COMMANDED! Not just once, but multiple times. It is demonstrated to us so well by God's own forgiveness toward such fiercely depraved humanity.
Forgiveness is also difficult.
I have officially been pissed off with Best Friend a grand total of three times in our entire friendship. I don't think that those stats are too bad. The last of these times occurred on a Sunday night over break. I was at church enjoying to company of old friends and familiar faces before returning to my home and although I was laughing and enjoying myself, I couldn't help but realize that Best Friend had completely ignored me all evening. I asked him what was wrong and he told me--nothing. I sent him a text message after I left to ask him again--what is wrong?
His reply was something I wish he had told me very much in person or at least over the phone. Text messaging is no way to handle problems.
He told me, in short, that he hated my pierced ear, was not a fan of the tattoo, and thought my short hair made me look like a lesbian. This hurt particularly coming from him. I've always valued his opinions so much as my best friend. We strive to be honest with each other, but that was an unnecessary level of honesty presented in an inappropriate method. He had no Biblical principles or reasons to confront me about this. It was merely a matter of me violating his personal preferences. He told me last year when I cut my hair that he didn't like it. I do not believe that my manner of presentation should be governed by him. I told him to confront me in love when he found something actually wrong in my life.
I cried to Unconventional and avoided sleep for the remainder of the night.
Anger is another issue. Anger is natural but also very harmful. Anger leads to bitterness which takes over, haunts you, and if it is not dealt with, controls you. Eventually, it harms both you and those around you. I was very close to becoming angry with Best Friend for hurting me. I took three days and did not talk to him or to anyone about him but I knew sometime that we would have to see each other and talk.
That time came with a phone call several nights later. I met Best Friend for dinner. (Actually, I didn't eat anything. I had accidentally eaten something with chicken in it the day before and it had upset my stomach.) He appologized deeply, gave me my Christmas present, and I forgave him.
What does this mean, though? I do not hold anything against him. I still love him unconditionally. But things are not the same. He hurt me and I do not believe that the level of friendship which we had before would be wise.
Is this wrong? Restoration is often a part of forgiveness. Did I truly forgive him if we do not return to being best friends? I believe the answer to this question is yes. He has been restored to my love, my good graces, my respect. I would never bring the subject up against him. But I do not think that it would be wise to act as though he never hurt me. Perhaps you think I am being too sensitive. Perhaps I am. All in all, I am learning.
Life cannot be defined because one never stops learning.