Last night, seventeen of us went out to dinner. Of course, with a group that size you need four cars, and somehow I ended up in the Deep Theological Conversation Car. I should have guess that by noticing the four men in the jeep with me, but I didn't mind.
"Ok, what kind of cool thoughts has anyone had about God lately? Let's start there," Keith said nonchalantly.
For the next hour or so we discussed forgiveness. One of the many conclusions we finally drew was that forgiveness is more for the forgiving than the forgiven. Forgiveness also doesn't mean what the other person did was right. Forgiveness does not make the sin acceptable. Rather, forgiveness is admitting, "Yes, what you did was wrong, but I've decided to put in the the past and move on. I wish you well."
This conclusion became important at dinner. Trey tried to throw an empty sugar wrapper at Matthew and missed, hitting me in the face. Me getting hit in the face is actually incredibly common. I narrowly avoided being hit in the head with a bowling ball tonight. I'm actually kind f sad it didn't hit me because that may be the only sports ball that has never collided with my face at some point in my life. Sometimes I really wonder if there is a magnetic field connecting my nose to anything being thrown.
Through laughter and tears, I told Trey I forgave him. I wasn't saying hitting me in the face was ok, but I was willing to move past it and be friends with Trey again. I wish Trey well.
While I was home for break, our church service times changed and no one bothered to tell the college students. Of course, we all showed up this morning and realized there was 45 minutes before the service started. Emily figured Matt told us. Matt thought we were on the email list. Really, it came down to John who completely forgot to mention it to us.
"I'll forgive Emily and Matt; it wasn't their responsibility. But I won't forgive John," Amber said, kind of in jest. "Ok, I'll forgive him, but not until after I tease him for it."
One of the things we pondered last night: is it ok to tell someone you forgive them if they don't know they wronged you? We concluded: no, you're shoving it in their face. Your sole motive is to hurt them back. That's wrong.
John came over and apologized. We teased about it for awhile. And then expressed forgiveness. We admitted what John did (or didn't do) was wrong, but opted to move on and wish him well instead of holding a grudge against John. After all, what had it hurt us? We lost forty-five minutes of precious sleep but that's it. No real harm done. Yes, Kevin, no real harm done; it was only 45 minutes.
Find it within you to forgive someone today. That doesn't make what he/she did right. It makes you willing to move on and wish that person well.