I Forgive You On One Condition

Record low temperatures swept across the country this week.  It was a high of zero where my husband was out of town and felt like fifty-five below.  I’m from Texas.  I don’t even know what that means.

But that was nothing compared to the chill that was about to come his way across the phone from me.  If you’re married, you know what I’m talking about: The Great Freeze Out.  It often follows hurt feelers.    And my sweet boy had hurt mine unintentionally.  As I was letting him know about it on the phone and you could feel ice crystals forming on the breath of my words, I suddenly just wasn’t feeling it…

I could tell he meant his apology so why would I try and make him work himself back into my good graces?

Don’t we do that sometimes?

Our forgiveness of someone might depend on:

  • How badly we were hurt
  • How much we love the other person
  • If we think the apology is sincere
  • If they even offer an apology
  • If anyone was standing around to witness our shame

You know what all these things have in common?

Pride.

That word gives me shivers worse than fifty below temps.

This isn’t true just for marriage, is it?

There’s that extended family situation.  And don’t we do it with our children sometimes?  What about people who have done something we don’t agree with?  Or that poor, special group of people who have hurt our children?

True forgiveness, after having dealt with it (yes, we have to deal with it first), is acting as if the thing never happened at all.  What that means is we can’t get historical and bring up the mess-up as Exhibit B the next time somebody goes and steps in it.  I’m not saying it isn’t hard.  I’m not even saying it doesn’t feel impossible sometimes.

But it’s the hard choices we make that carve beautiful character.

This doesn’t make us doormats.  It doesn’t make us weak.

Forgiveness is a posture of humility that makes us better lovers of people.

I am only speaking for myself when I say: To do this well, I have to get over myself first.

I love this line from Mumford and Sons’ Roll Away Your Stone:

It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with every start.

Isn’t that the picture of forgiveness that God extends to us? We will never not be welcomed immediately.

Making people walk the long, dark, cold road to earn our good graces back…is nothing.

That part is for us alone.

The thing that changes hearts, mends relationships…transforms people?

It’s an open door filled with light on that dark road and arms wide and reaching…

Love at the ready.

 

Husbands be like, 'Baby, are you mad at me?'
Husbands be like, ‘Baby, are you mad at me?’

 

 

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Meagan | 10th Jan 14

    Yay! for my inbox happy.
    And thanks for adding to the convict!! I love you. Thanks for speaking truth in a hilariously honest sort of way. I’ve felt I needed to forgive someone for a while now, but it feels so good to just let it burn, you know? So I’m adding a bullet to my to-do list today & may need to use you as a my socially appropriate filter.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 10th Jan 14

      Socially appropriate? Me? 😉 Thank you for these sweet words. I am convicted by my own words…just a challenge to always love best. Dang this being human! I love you, love your family, love your blog! What day are you going to be my happy? 🙂

  2. Paige Thompson | 10th Jan 14

    LOVED this….so needed today!!! Thank you for your beautiful writing and allowing God to speak through you such TRUTH! Have a fabulous day, precious lady 🙂

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 10th Jan 14

      Paige, I sometimes think I just write for myself…I needed this today! Humbled to the FLOOR that God would use me to speak at all and that you needed it? He delights, doesn’t He? Amazing. I hope you are doing well…seems like forever ago that we were in this same town…you still feel like such a good and familiar friend. I miss seeing your face at drop-off 🙂

  3. Susan | 10th Jan 14

    Melissa, I have to say that whenever I see that you have written another blog post, a smile lights up my face! I can’t wait to settle in with a cup of coffee and be blessed as I read. What you have written here is spot-on and so important for all of us (married and single alike) to remember on a daily basis. I speak from personal experience (38.5 years of marriage!) when I say that forgiveness should be a cornerstone of our lives. Thank you once again for sharing your heart. God is using you, girl!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 10th Jan 14

      Um…you have no idea how delighted I was by your comment. Seriously delighted. Treasured words and wisdom (38 years?!? swoon…) from one who spurred my love of words. I so wish we could sit down and chat over coffee. Maybe one day…I’ll hang on to that. Your last sentence? Only facedown delight. Thank you.

  4. Jennifer | 10th Jan 14

    Can you love and loathe at the same time?!? Ugh, gut check this am but so spot on as my hubby returned from a week long trip last night. Tell him he owes you a TY as I drop my tude’ today. But I may sneer at you in pick up line at school. Lol

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 10th Jan 14

      Jen, I giggle as I read and still now. Only because…I. Feel. You. I think we need to hang out. It would be good for Will and Scott. ANd so much more for me! Thank you for this, sweet friend.

  5. Sara | 10th Jan 14

    Mel, I always look forward to reading your blogs. Such an uplifting note in my day of sick patients. My new tag line is “Forgiveness is a posture of humility that makes us better lovers of people”. LOVE IT.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 10th Jan 14

      Sara, did I say that?!?! 😉 I always look forward to hearing what you have to say. I love you.

  6. karen tipton | 11th Jan 14

    Thank you for including me in your emails. What a great way to look at forgiveness–you gave new thoughts to ponder in my head, a lighter mood and feeling in my heart, and a desire to make better of situations that I find myself in. Have a great day–the sun is shining and it’s not zero:)

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 13th Jan 14

      Karen, you have blessed me with your words this morning. Wow. Thank you. Also, we need to get together soon so we can get you rolling! Call me when you are ready…I’m excited!

  7. Wynne | 15th Jan 14

    thank you for this melissa. needed to hear it. one thing i really want to focus on in 2014 is not keeping score! it’s so hard, and forgiveness is hard to give sometimes. thanks for sharing!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 16th Jan 14

      Not keeping score. Ouch. I do that in a thousand different ways when it’s said like that…I know that chasing after the Good Thing…we will get it. Thank you for your sweet encouragement, friend.

  8. Julie Minton | 17th Jan 14

    I so love this, so very true…Anyone can apologize and if you dont like how they said it, then comes the anger again. You have to give it to God…;)

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