I received an email the other day that made me think out loud, “You know, I think God is telling me I need to forgive this person.” I didn’t even have to think about it; I knew to take the situation as an invitation to open communication again and forgive the person for the past.
I held grudges in my past: there were some friendships that fizzled away over things that seemed so important at the moment but nowadays, I can’t even recall what had happened to make us angry at one another. I lost friendships over petty things in middle school, high school, college, and even post-college.
The first time one of these former friends came forth to me to apologize and express forgiveness towards me, we were seniors in high school. This friend had moved away and had messaged me on AIM to let me know that she no longer had hard feelings towards me. It all seemed incredulous: at that point, of course, whatever we had fought about was still fresh in my mind (despite the fight happening probably during freshman year); although I replied and said I also forgave her, I didn’t believe my own words. We were amicable with one another for a little bit after that, and then we drifted apart again as we both went off to college and she got married.
Only after the hurt subsided from that friendship (and, well, I forgot about what we had fought about), did I finally decide to forgive her. But by that time, it didn’t matter anymore because we weren’t talking anymore. The moment was gone.
Another instance of forgiveness occurred around four years ago: a good friend of mine had asked if I wanted to see a particular mutual friend of ours while I was visiting Virginia. When he had asked me this question, my mind flashed back to all the pain the three of us had gone through in college, when the falling out had occurred. I then smiled and said to him, “Of course we can all hang out together; what’s the problem? I’ve moved past that stuff from college.” And I really had; I didn’t have hard feelings towards her anymore, and I didn’t really get to express my forgiveness towards her until that trip. The three of us met up and I could just sense the feeling of relief wash over all of us, especially my two friends.
Life’s too short to hold onto past hurts, especially when I can’t quite remember anymore what had made me so upset in the first place. I have learned over time that really, to forgive someone is to move on with life and let go of the past.