I’m still singing Don Henley, but I finally figured out what was bothering me. It’s not that I haven’t yet learned the lesson about forgiving others. It’s my need to be forgiven.
As I’ve gone through life, I have been hurt. But in the process, I’ve also hurt others. Often I’ve done so unintentionally and unknowingly. This has usually happened when I was focused on me and my own troubles, effectively having blinders on for what my actions were doing to those around me.
When I have come to the realization that I have hurt someone, I have apologized. But then what? What if that person does not accept the apology or even acknowledge it? Does it matter, if I am truly sorry and have said so, if I am not forgiven by the person I have hurt?
If you have read my previous blogs on forgiveness you will understand that it does matter for them. Their healing depends upon it and they will be happier and more content if they do.
But what about me? The thought has crossed my mind, along with the voice of Don Henley, that I do need to be forgiven. I know, however, that I can’t expect or demand that I will be. Human beings have free will, and if I have hurt someone they can choose not to forgive, even if I sincerely regret what I have done or didn’t mean to do it.
This is the flipside of forgiveness. How do we find healing in this situation? This is where God comes in. He forgives even when the other human being in our lives does not. That is the truth I need to understand and truly internalize. Although I would love for those I have hurt to forgive for their sake, I cannot live my life as if I need them to for my sake.
Is there someone in your life whom you have hurt, either intentionally or unintentionally? Have you said you are sorry but they won’t forgive? Take heart, there is hope in the forgiveness that God promises. And I am thankful for this hope in my life.