After working on forgiving, I realized that there is another side to forgiveness, and that is to be forgiven. Every issue has 2 sides. If I need to forgive someone for hurting me, then it is likely that I hurt them too, and so I need to be forgiven. The thing is, we don’t have any control over this side of forgiveness. We can’t make someone forgive us, even if we say we are sorry. All we can do is seek forgiveness, and be willing to accept and forgive their unforgiveness. It’s tough to do, but it will give you peace so you can quit worrying about it.
Have you ever talked to a friend or family member about an old memory you shared, and they describe it totally differently? It happens a lot! It is shocking! They may remember details you have forgotten. In fact sometimes, I vividly remembered that someone was with me somewhere, and I can describe exactly what happened, and they do not remember being there at all! More shocking! We are so used to our own reality in our own mind, that we don’t realize that other people have a whole different reality in their mind! Evidently our memories are very selective! And it is not likely, if they don’t remember it, that they will forgive you. I mean, basically, if they don’t remember what happened, they have nothing to forgive. In this case you are off the hook. You just need to forgive them for having such a bad memory, and forgive yourself for worrying about something they forgot. There are some things I remember my dad doing when I was a kid, but when I talk to him, he says “That never happened!” Oh but it did! For those things, I just forgive him, since he can’t be sorry for something he doesn’t remember doing.
Now I do not recommend contacting people from your past to tell them you have forgiven them, or to ask for forgiveness. It is just too complicated. Instead, do the forgiveness in your own mind, and as a prayer to God. Then, pray for them. If you can pray for them, then you have probably forgiven them totally. Even if they don’t forgive you, you can forgive them and yourself, and God forgives you both.
What if someone comes to you all upset about something you don’t remember? I guess the best thing to do is say you are sorry, but you just don’t remember it. I never thought forgiveness could get so complicated. It is like a ball of yarn that just keeps unraveling and leaves a mess on the floor. I guess I still have a lot to learn about forgiveness! How about you? I think I will be doing my next Bible study on forgiveness.