forgiveness is not a charade

We are so afraid of the shadow emotions in our culture - anger, sadness, grief, fear - that the message is always about how to hurry up and make it go away.  Don't be mad or sad for too long, please, you are making me uncomfortable.  Can you get over it already, thankyouverymuch?

Don't do it.

Don't get over it.

Enough skating on the surface of things.

Get messy - get into it instead of over it.

If you truly want to forgive someone - you need to feel your anger, feel the hurt, feel the betrayal. Otherwise your forgiveness is a joke, an act, a spiritual put-on of holier-than-thou with nothing whole about it. It's a denial. If there is no hurt, there is no need to forgive. If you have "let-go" of your anger, then the call for forgiveness is gone.

True forgiveness doesn't happen when I let go of my anger. It happens because I am angry. Forgiveness is the action that allows me to experience my anger - to be in my anger and and in my love at the same time - to hold the paradox of being hurt by someone we trust. 

To forgive without anger is like thinking commitment means "I will do this as long as it feels good."  No, commitment says "There will be moments when I don't want to do this, and yet I will." Committment is what carries us through the times that don't feel so good.

Likewise, forgiveness is what carries us through the hurt of betrayal. We forgive because we love, forgiveness says, "I am in great pain right now and yet I love you." or "I am in great pain right now and yet I see your humanity."  And because we can be in that place of mixed emotions, we will be able to journey through the pain. Forgiveness is that journey. It is not a point of arrival. I do not forgive once and it is over.  I am in a process of forgiving.

If you are here: "I don't know if I can ever forgive, I still feel so angry/hurt/betrayed."

Good.  Dance with your anger and hurt. And dance some more. And see if somewhere in the dance you find yourself feeling the rhythm of forgiveness.

And then just keep feeling your way through.  xox