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Beyond Forgiveness, Messy Emotions Are Still Present

Forgiving is not the same as grieving. Emotions of hurt, anger, loss and sadness don't just magically end because forgiveness has been granted. In fact, sometimes grieving isn’t able to take place until forgiveness happens. After I was able to fully forgive Ann is when we could really grieve our losses together. Grieving our losses together communicated that we were on the same side and that significant trust had been restored.

Forgiveness can't be demanded (well it can, but it is counterproductive) and sadness isn't a sin. Jesus grieved. He wept. Remember that the next time shame is a companion of your tears. Tears aren't a defect. 

The words below reacquaint us with grieving our losses. 

Grieving isn't just about the death of someone you love.  We suffer 'deaths' of various flavors throughout our lives. Life isn't exactly like a box of chocolates Forest Gump. It's more like Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Harry Potter.  We get great tastes like banana and bacon and other times we gag on rotten eggs or petrol.  

My friend, Krista posted this quote yesterday, "Every day we experience death. The death of dreams, misconceptions, illusions. The death of vibrancy and enthusiasm. The death of hope. The death of courage. The death of confidence. The death of faith. The death of trust. More often than any of us ever expect, life stuns us with the sudden wrenching away of a loved one, a devastating diagnosis, a conversation that begins with the chilling words, “There’s something I’ve got to tell you.”

 In our stunned state we must allow ourselves to grieve our woundedness, i.e. loss of relationship and intimacy because it will eventually lead to extraordinary encounters with God.  Our woundedness includes ways we have been hurt and ways we have hurt others.

We had much to grieve following the revelation of the affair.  One of the best decisions I ever made was to face as much of the pain possible every day. Though there was a constant washing of pain, I figured there was still only so much pain to deal with in this deal and if we managed to make it through I didn't want it constantly snaking around in our relationship two decades hence.   

Gerald Sittser who lost his mom, wife and one of his daughters in the same car wreck shares in A Grace Disguised, 

The quickest way to reach the sun and light of day is not to run west, chasing the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.

So go east young man and young woman. Grieving is not just about death, it is about any loss in our lives. It is our response to those losses that determines whether we will be more fully able to give and receive love or become tight-souled and bitter.


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