We’re taught (as Christians) that we are to always forgive as Christ forgave. In society, we’re urged to “forgive and forget” (though in reality we want to make sure that, when we’ve forgiven, the person we’ve forgiven doesn’t forget!) We’ve learned to “turn the other cheek,” and even at times to try to understand those who’ve wronged us.

No matter how you slice it or dice it, it’s all about Forgiveness.

And let’s face it: Forgiveness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We’ve glorified it to be a saintly practice, achievable with a mere setting of the mind and a wave of the hand. Someone wrongs us or hurts us, we simply set our mind to forgive them, make the saintly pronouncement “I forgive you,” then hang up our halo on the coat rack and move onto the next thing in life.

But you and I both know it doesn’t work like that – at least not that easily. Sometimes forgiveness can take years to achieve; other times it can actually be quite easy and quick. It really depends on how important it is, or how deeply we were wounded. Regardless, it’s a process that we must work through to achieve. And there are so many facets to it, it would be ridiculous (and impossible) to touch onto every one of them here. So I won’t.

You’re welcome.

As I mentioned before, it really depends on how deeply we feel we were wounded as to how quickly we can forgive. It’s completely based on our own, personal, (and very real) experience. No matter how inconsequential it may seem to the rest of the world, the fact remains that to me – even if I’m the only one in the world affected by it – the pain is very real, and very big. Once that pain subsides and we’ve muddled through it, we can begin the journey to forgiveness.

Conversely, it’s very easy for any of us to look at someone who feels they’ve been wronged, who feels they’ve been buffeted, who feels they are suffering and say, “Really? That’s what you’re brooding about?” because it’s not important to us.

The thought and idea of forgiveness opens up a very real Pandora’s Box – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – for us. When we’ve been wronged on any level, it tends to open up old wounds with which we’ve never properly dealt. And when we delve deeper into this muck, we realize that our lives would be a whole lot lighter if we could just let all of that bilge go.

It’s been said, “The best revenge is living well.” Sometimes in order to live well we need to walk away from a situation. And sometimes that act, alone, is a form of forgiveness – because we’re willing to separate ourselves from that which is hurting us. We “turn the other cheek” in that we turn and walk away, showing them our “other cheek” as we do so.

If you’re reading this, and got this far, I’d wager the entire time reading it you’ve been focused on something that’s been done to you. I know I have. But hopefully we’ll be able to work through to the stage of forgiving.

Then we can stretch out our one hand, with the other clutched at our neck, and with a breathy, theatrical voice, mutter, “I forgive you…”, hang our halos on the hook, and move on to the next thing.