Excerpt from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05nbrjt
Forgiving someone who’s hurt you is weak. It’s letting them off. It’s letting them get away with it. It’s not just.
So goes a well-worn critique of the words “I forgive them”.
There are some people whose words come to us from the front line of forgiveness. Forgiveness might seem somewhere between impossibly generous and unattractively pious. Forgiveness is not about being a doormat. There is a timeliness about forgiveness, and for many people it isn’t yet. It isn’t now.
Forgiveness in the Christian tradition is more of a process than an event, and it’s rooted in hard, sweaty, sobbing work of facing the truth of the past; finding that our humanity is indelibly marked by our need to be forgiven, thus inviting the possibility that we might be able to forgive.
Forgiveness is absolutely not about being nice. And it’s not about enslaving us in the service of some abstract moral code.
Forgiveness one says is “giving up hope of a better past”. She knows what she’s talking about.
When I embark on a process of trying to forgive you, or forgive myself, I’m taking a deep breath, and turning my face towards the past that I know I can’t change. It’s not weak. It’s strong. And the hallmark of the process of forgiveness is found in the root of the word used in the New Testament: to set aside, to let go