Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forgiving Quickly

Whoever said it first got it right: “Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.” What a wise and wonderful way to live – but not as easy as it seems.

Personally, I’m all for lingering kisses, raucous laughter, and true love. I can’t wait. But the idea of forgiving quickly is a tough one. It certainly belongs on the list; it’s just that it doesn’t come easily. How I enjoy my righteous indignation. Forgiving can be like drinking bitter medicine; I have to force myself to swallow … and even that in small doses.

In his audio book “Living Faith” (Random House Audio Books, 1996), U. S. President Jimmy Carter talks about forgiving quickly. He says that without the knowledge that he can be forgiven, it would be impossible for him to face his own shortcomings.

He relates that both he and his wife, Rosalynn, are “strong-willed” persons who find it difficult to admit being at fault.

One day, after a particularly harsh argument, Carter decided that he would never let another day end with each of them angry with the other. So he went out to his wood shop and cut a thin piece of walnut, a little smaller than a bank check. On it, he carved the words, “Each evening forever this is good for an apology or forgiveness, as you desire.” That evening, he gave the plaque to Rosalynn. He reports that, so far, he has been able to honor it each time Rosalyn has presented it to him.

With his plaque, Carter made it possible for them to forgive quickly. They created a climate where it became safe to admit mistakes and where it was expected that those mistakes would be forgiven.

I suspect that if we can forgive quickly, we won’t have much problem with all of the kissing, laughing and loving. And we’ll probably do more of it.

-- Steve Goodier

2 comments:

Tim & Beth Thrift said...

So difficult to do, yet so necessary to our own happiness! Thanks for the reminder.
Beth T.

Sarah said...

Thanks for the reminder since forgiving those that hurts us is one of the hardest things to do in life but something that should be done.