And as I wrote the scene, I realized that some of the words coming out of the character’s mouth were my own.
I wasn’t too surprised. I’ve grappled with forgiveness — the whole “How do I forgive this person, God?” question — for years. Over and over and over again. No, not just one person. (Don’t I wish.) But the getting down on my face — literally — before God and confessing that forgiveness is the last thing I feel towards another person … well, that has happened again and again in my life.
Just being honest.
But as I “listened” to my character admit he didn’t forgive this person in his (imaginary) life, I realized I had some answers for him. Some truth to impart. Well, not me — but the other character in the scene. (Sorry, I know this is getting a bit complicated. Welcome to my world as a writer.)
My unforgiving character needed an epiphany — a moment of life-changing truth. And I could make it happen because I’ve experienced some life-changing truths — specifically about forgiveness. And here’s the first one I learned:
The first step to forgiveness is admitting you can’t forgive someone.
There was this person who hurt me — and who kept on hurting me. One day I fell on my knees beside my bed, tears choking me. And I told God, “I can’t forgive him.”
And then I waited for God to smite me … or something equally biblical and theatrical.
All I heard was God say, “I know you can’t.”
And then he said, “But I already have … so let me help you.”
Admitting I couldn’t forgive was the first step to forgiveness.
In Your Words: What surprising truth have you learned about forgiveness? I love it when you join the conversation!
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