Forgiving

         Peter came and said to him, "Teacher,
         if another member of the church sins against me,
         how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?"
         Jesus said to him, "Not seven times,
         but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
                  —Matthew 18.21-22

Forgiving is not forgetting bad behavior,
not condoning or excusing or minimizing it,
not pretending that it didn't hurt, that “it was nothing.”

Forgiving is not about the behavior.
It's loving the person,
and letting nothing, even their hurtful actions,
diminish or deter your love.

Forgiving is accepting what is—
that they have wronged you—
without desire to amend that,
to get even, exact payment
or get them to see your hurt.
It is accepting that the hurt is real,
and yet your love for them, and yourself, remains.

Forgiving is accepting the person,
even with their hurtfulness,

without needing to change that.
Forgiving is accepting yourself:
allowing yourself to be hurt or wronged
without the need to correct that
to know your belovedness, dignity and worth.

Forgiving is owing nothing, being owed nothing.
Forgiving is letting go of the past,
letting the hurt be in the past instead of the present,
choosing to stop hanging on to it, stop being chained up in it.
Forgiving is getting free.

Our forgiving blossoms from our being entirely forgiven.
We have been forgiven for deeper hurts than we ourselves forgive.
We choose to be in the heaven of infinite forgiving
rather than the hell of unfinished and never-ending resentment.
Forgiving is coming alive,
and entering into eternal life.

Forgiving is not a chore or obligation.
Forgiving is joy, freedom, compassion, and peace.
Seven times seventy times.