for forgiveness.

To err is human, to forgive is divine.
Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly. It sets us free without wanting anything in return.
Forgiveness unleashed joy.  It brings peace.  It washes the slate clean.  It sets all the highest values of love in motion.  In a sense, forgiveness is Christianity at its highest level.
Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. 


i used to laugh in the face of people who said phrases like these.

i would roll my eyes, let out the loud, heavy sigh, and try extra hard to make sure the sour look on my face was wasn’t too noticeable.

if given the option, i would’ve said, “whelp, no thanks. i don’t need any sort of divine juju in my life. & actually, i doooo want something in return. & that high-level Christianity is not for the faint of heart, and i’m pretty faint, so…i’ll just stay right here where i’m comfortable, then, because i am weak-sauce, alright?!”


but then, the craziest thing happened.

i’m talking bat-shit crazy, okay?


do you remember when i recently confessed to having a knock-down, drag out fight with God?
well, what i failed to mention is that a big portion of that fight was about a guy from my past, who damaged my heart nearly beyond recognition. very long story very short, we were best friends for three years, fell deeply in love, and were intentionally speaking of marriage. i was loved and accepted into his family; they adored me & i forfeited my niece’s first Christmas and my grandma’s last Christmas to be with them. but as soon as i boarded my flight back home, kissing & hugging him until “next time”, all of that was actually history.

literally overnight, he was gone, with no explanation as to why.
i received no closure, and no response to my letters and phone calls and emails.
it was all for not.

as the days pressed on, it felt like all of the air had been sucked from beneath my sternum, pulled out from between each of my ribs, and tossed out with the garbage. it felt like the following weeks and months and years that passed were spent on a figurative hampster wheel, spinning and running and putting all of my hope & effort into moving forward, only to find i was still standing in the exact same place.

as i traveled the world, the people i’d meet and the littlest moments or scenes would remind me of him. my sweet grandma Ellie, who loved him and asked of him often, passed away…and he never bothered to respond about that either. it was like he haunted me, yet in the same instant, was so far gone and could not care any less.

heart-broken doesn’t really do it justice.
a part of me died.


fast foward to a few weeks ago, when i had that fight with God.

i told him how sick i was of replaying events in my head and heart, how i’d cut this soul-tie too many times but it just kept flaring back up like poison ivy on a hot summer day. i begged for closure, logical answers, anything to just be able to move forward with my life, to one day step into a marriage with little/no baggage and with a healthy conscience. i declared that i was worth so much more, and my identity was in Christ, but this heartache had skewed my belief system so much. i pleaded his Holy Spirit to gently convict this guy who wounded me so much, and through sobs, i repented of how angry and bitter i still was, shouting, “i just want to be free from this!”


well, frick.
when God moves, He moves swiftly.
only two weeks after my quite literal snotty debacle with the Father, i awoke to an email on my phone from the very person i hadn’t heard from in nearly three years.

first, i saw his name.
then, i blinked a few times, trying to wake myself up, knowing i was only imagining things.
i glanced back, saw it again, and read the first few lines.
next, i fell out of my bed.
my heart raced, and i began to pace around my room.

the email read, “I told you I’d never leave you, and I broke that promise. I’m disgusted with myself. I’m so sorry, Suzy. Please forgive me. I could never contemplate what I did to you.”

i chucked my phone across the room, not in anger, but in utter disbelief, holding my hands over my entire face.
could this really be happening?

i cannot tell you how or why or when the Holy Spirit will move.
but i do know His children move Him to act.
as i read the words on my phone’s sceen, i felt an actual weight lifted off of me, & thrown deep into the sea.

believe me; part of me thinks this is all crazy-talk, too.
but God heard my cry for help, and he truly is near to our broken-hearted, hot mess selves.

when and if the day finally came, i was convinced i’d make this guy gravel at my feet, begging for forgiveness and mercy, looking up at me with his sad, puppy-dog eyes, whole-heartedly apologetic and offering me all of the answers i’d always thought i needed.

so for the life of me, i cannot understand how it was so easy to forgive him in that moment, without any hesitation at all.

the instant i read his words, my spirit knew what it had to do.
it had to finally & fully let go, and it did. effortlessly.
and i was freed. at peace. breathing again.
friends, it’s not always this easy. {& let’s face it, the last three years have proven that for me.} i wish i could tell you it always works like this; i wish it was like swift clockwork, where forgiveness was the most efficient act of obedience and holiness in the Kingdom, like second-nature to each of us. i wish God would extend to us the strength it takes to free ourselves and others each and every time we need to.

but it’s not that simple.

sometimes we’ll beg God for answers and mercy and healing, and yet we may never receive those things. his economy and timing are completely and utterly whack to me, and yet i fully trust Him to do what is to my best interest. he often steps back and asks us to do the unthinkable because he forgave us first, and knows how hard and good and beautiful it actually is.

i believe he wants us to experience this freedom organically, without loot in our pockets and ill-motives in hand, but in the purest, most abundant of ways. he wants freedoms for the captives, and he wants to remind us about the atonement for our own sins.

God is consistent and he knows what we need and when we need it. so it’s not without a great cost that Jesus is present and active in our lives, ever reminding us of the cross, and how we must leave things there at his feet {which he’s watched my futile attempts at for years now}.

so here’s the BOTTOM LINE:
you are forgiven your inexcusables by him.
you are freed by him.

now, forgive.
{which may mean learning to accept an apology you never actually got.}


2 thoughts on “for forgiveness.

  1. Suzy, this is an amazing story and I feel so full of joy as I read it. Simply amazing. I hear the verse, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” and I’m struck by how much I avoid repenting. Here’s to having repentant hearts and enjoying life to the full:)

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