Love does not struggle to forgive – I did (pt3)

by Craig on May 18, 2011

unforgiveness only holds the heart captive



So now you all know much more of this story than almost anyone I’ve ever known.

I’ve told no one about that five-year-old boy who had to make the decision of his life. (here)

I’ve told very few people of the man who forced the decision and had me regretting it before I even made it.

So the question…

the question is…

how do you forgive someone that you cannot forgive?

How do you do the impossible?

I accepted our Lord as my Savior 26 years ago. I believed but I doubted. I coveted heavily the faith of all those other believers I saw, who just seemed to believe without really even trying hard.

But through the years – even before all doubts were vanquished – there was one shining proof of the existence of God that I could not discount. It was the impossible forgiveness granted to someone I couldn’t forgive.

It was the first year of my new Christian life. It was barely a year or two removed from the story of rage and fury that I’ve told in the last two days.

The hatred, the unforgiving spirit – that all remained embedded deep inside as I walked into the church that night.

The preacher said that we can’t grow in our faith if we harbor unforgiveness. He couldn’t have hit me harder. I had a fledgling faith and I wanted it to grow geometrically.

I never considered, not for one second, that if I held onto my bitterness – if I didn’t forgive the one person I didn’t want to forgive – that would hold me back from the thing I wanted most.

It was a cross eyed equation … and it floored me.

Sitting there that night I wrestled with God, secretly, and quietly, and tearfully, and 400 people around me didn’t know.

I wrestled with God, secretly, and quietly, and tearfully.source

“Can’t I have You and hold onto just this one little thing. I want to know you more. I want to know you more than anything I’ve ever wanted to know in my life. And there shouldn’t be any big stumbling block between my desire to want to know more of you and the reality happening. I have your Book and am reading it. I talk to you endlessly. I’m giving up a life, that for one of the very few times in my life – I can say I’m enjoying. I’m doing it for you.  I want to grow in this faith you’ve given me, but I don’t want to let go of this.”

Then as I was having this conversation with our God the preacher on the stage kept pounding the principal.

The one person I couldn’t forgive? I had no choice. I had to forgive.

It seemed unfair,
it seemed cruel,
it seemed like a low blow for such a high God.

To ask the impossible right at the start. To douse water on the fire that was burning so brightly within me. How could he do that?

At this point tears were streaming down both sides of my face, and dripping off my chin, and dropping to the floor. Around me were people shouting “AMEN” to what they heard. But every word that collided with me just sliced deeper into my heart.

“I can’t do it. I can’t let this go.” I whispered in resignation – and near silence.

"I can't do it. I can't let this go."source

I meant no disrespect. I was deeply sorrowful as I said the words, yet at the same time I was angry that he was asking me to give this up.

I blog about Love.

I blog about Scripture.

I love God like I love nothing else.

I can’t breathe unless he’s in my life.

I want nothing to do with the darkness.

I only want the Light.

So, I guess it’ll be no mystery,

that the way to forgive the unforgivable?

Our Lord was about to send that way…

my way…

more tomorrow…

please come back.

In God’s love

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Miz Liz May 18, 2011 at 10:58 am

… the impossible… the IMPOSSIBLE… THE impossible. That is our Father. You probably have no idea how many hearts still holding dark corners get light just because you post your story and share your words and show your Christ.
Eager for the miracle…..


Craig May 18, 2011 at 11:55 am

Liz, first of all thank you. Second of all, the story, most of my stories, I’m sometimes a little surprised that anybody even really wants to know them, much less benefit from them. Still, thank you for your really nice words. God bless.


Cora May 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

I’m REALLY hearing “the impossible” thing. And Miz Liz is so right — there are so many standing in the shadows and seeing a glimmer of light and hope. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain you suffered through. I have sat in that pew and felt the knife of that two edged sword and the hot tears. No one can understand the miracle of forgiveness — even when we receive it. I remember the emptying, the load-lifting, the cleansing moment and there are few words. We go to the cross for some understanding, and we wonder . . . . HOW could He forgive it ALL???? The cleansing flow — it flows from Him, to us, through us, and to others. It’s getting beyond the “to us” that is so hard. Light in dark corners. . . I’m one who is going deeper into the shadows of my heart. How can I ever thank you for this????


Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Cora, for me this remains as the only forgiveness that I haven’t been able to do. I’ve said before, that although I have more than my share of Christian weaknesses, forgiveness is not one of them. But this one I did not want to let go of – it was “impossible”.

It’s when I compare myself to people around me – when we “good Christians” compare ourselves with non-Christians with maybe questionable morals – by the world’s standards – it’s been that I can see how he would forgive us. It’s what I compare what we – all of us – are – – – compare it to perfection, that’s when I ask your question “how can at all’?

And seriously, although I’m thankful that this little scribbling of words is of use, I sit here and wonder how. But thank you – thank you – I heart that you like it! God bless you.


Kristin May 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

You have just reeled me into your story. I have goosebumps because I know about His kind of forgiveness. Impossible on our own, but never impossible with Him. I love (heart) how you are sharing those dark corners and it’s obvious the Light has shone in! I just know this is going to help someone if not a lot of someones:) Thank you for sharing from your heart. I can’t wait for the rest of the story!


Craig May 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Kristin, the dark corners, they are hard to share – not because it’s difficult to write, but because you just get afraid that if you drop the mask people will run away. I’m glad you’re not running. Thank you. What you read here – it does all come from a God who is teaching me daily to drop masks, open up, and share. I’m just learning – and sometimes not the quickest to pick up on the lesson. Again, thank you Kristen – and God bless you and all of yours.

PS and you know I heart that you used heart as a verb – makes me smile :-)


Emilie May 18, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I’ll be back… I need to know the end of this story–how you forgave. I understand the struggle… usually I try to forget it, but really I live in the midst of it always. Part of my story–a dark corner I don’t write about–forgiveness needs to happen, but I don’t think it ever has… and I’ve always thought it just wasn’t possible for me… it went too deep and I just couldn’t do it… so, yes. I’ll be back. To hear the rest. And thank you…


Craig May 19, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I don’t know if the way that he did it for me will work for everybody, but the key words in that last phrase are “he did it”.I’m finding the story is a little more nuanced than I remembered at first – so I’m not hurrying through it – but I think you’ll heart the end – and the process to the end. We just kind of have to forgive – we bear the name of our Lord. I heart your spirit Emilie, and in this new phase of your life I want you to know that I’ve said a prayer or two for you – you are good for the world to have around :-)God bless and keep you


Mari May 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Ive never had to forgive such hurt. To forgive, its not natural or logical to me. Only Jesus can do this through us! Thank you for continuing to share about His work in you…b/c after all, that is what our stories are. Evidence of his love and grace. =)


Craig May 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Mari, that’s okay, you put it perfectly – “only Jesus can do this through us”. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, I heart your comments! To me they are “evidence of his love and grace” :-) God bless you and keep you and yours this day Mari – and thank you as always.


Michelle May 19, 2011 at 3:21 am

“Sitting there that night I wrestled with God, secretly, and quietly, and tearfully, and 400 people around me didn’t know.” – I have been in this place.

“the dark corners, they are hard to share – not because it’s difficult to write, but because you just get afraid that if you drop the mask people will run away.” – So true. But I have discovered that I wasted a lot of energy keeping hidden things that I thought would ‘scare people off’. Only to find that when they were brought into The Light (in a safe environment), they held no more power. Over me or my children. Our God is so Gracious.

And I thank Him everyday that He is God, and I am not.


Craig May 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Michelle, the fact that you’ve been in this place of struggling with God in the middle of an assembly, it makes me wonder how many people we miss in the pews who need a helping hand. Then, of course, not everybody crying in a service is unhappy – still we need to keep watch over each other. I think God hearts that. And Amen – God makes a much better God than me too. God bless you Michelle!


A. May 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

This forgiveness thing, it can be really, really tough. And it can feel wooden sometimes when I try to ‘do it’. And it isn’t a single incident-it seems to need to be done over and over sometimes. Craig, it is possible some will run when you drop your mask, but others won’t, because they want what you have to share. Thank you for risking this.


Craig May 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

isn’t it funny how it’s easy for some people is hard for others – like I know that poetry for some people is easy but for me it’s murder. What is a gift for one person is a struggle for another. I don’t know why, other than just this one instance, forgiveness comes easy for me. I just want to reiterate what I said on your other comment today – this patient with yourself as He is with you. God bless you A.


thefisherlady May 23, 2011 at 12:39 am

this forgiveness thing, this wonderful forgiveness thing is all about why Jesus came…
When he was on the cross and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do…”
He makes a way for us to do the same, by His gracious loving Spirit and through His abundant grace.
It is all so freeing … like taking the rope off a tied up chest and being able to breathe again…
If the Son shall make you free then you shall be free indeed.
Thank you Craig for sharing your very humanness.
I stand there with you…


Craig May 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

Thank you Tina, the last thing you said, about my humanness, reminded me of the quote that everybody knows, “to err is human to forgive is divine”. And I am oh so human. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not alone in my humanness. God bless and keep you and yours this day!


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