Unforgiveness or Moving On?
There are times when I struggle with the word forgiveness. Not so much as whether I have the ability to forgive someone in terms of pardoning a sin. Lord knows we all have them and each of us take our turns needing grace from someone. What I question is the true definition of forgiveness and whether restoration has to be a part of the process for forgiveness to be legit or complete. As I get older, I question my old way of thinking and tend to think not.
As an example there was a friend of mine who I have been cool with for almost 20 years. We’ve shared many stories of joy and pain and have been there for one another throughout both good and difficult times. Well I going through something last year and I shared it with this person. My car had some major engine damage and I was scrambling to come up with the several thousand dollars to have it fixed. I needed the car for transportation for working both my 9-5 as well as my officiating jobs that I already had lined up.
Speaking with him about the situation, he said, “I am so sorry to hear about your car.” I said that I appreciated it and just to let it be known I am taking donations. He thought I was joking but I clarified my desperation.
Mind you… I have NEVER asked this person for a dime. Neither had I ever asked my mother since I left her home at the age of 14. But I did this time. This person asked me what my car payment was (monthly). I gave the amount and he said they would help me out with one month’s payment. “Great, !” I said as I voiced my appreciation.
He gave me a date and I said Ok. The date passed and I didn’t hear anything. I called and didn’t get an answer. After a week I received a call from this person saying he was out of town and didn’t have a chance to go to the bank but that the money was forthcoming within a day. I said that was fine.
After another week I called again, not for the money just to see if he were OK. Still didn’t get an answer.
The next time I called the person answered the phone… perhaps by mistake and I could him him talking to someone else.
I hung up the phone.
Later I sent an email to the person letting him know that I was really hurt. Not because of the money because anyone has the right to do with their money as they please even if they say they are going to do one thing and later change their mind. But to not say anything and avoid me? I thought we were way better than that. I put it behind me and left it alone.
Well after 8 or 9 months, I get a text from this person saying, “Hey.” I looked at it, remembered the number (because I had previously deleted it out of my phone) and thought to myself, “Hey what?” My initial thought was that we didn’t have anything to talk about. I didn’t see any explanations or apologies for the times I was calling and didn’t get an answer. I just erased it and kept on stepping.
Now here are the questions I have to ask myself when I try to identify the forgiveness thing.
Question: Am I upset at this person? Am I holding this against him?
Answer: I honestly don’t believe I am. I managed to get my car fixed and I have moved on. I regretted that the friendship couldn’t handle the topic of money and though the subject never came up between us before, the only reason I asked was because I felt we were ‘cool like that.’ That was a sign of deep humility and respect for me to even think of asking this person because I don’t just ask anybody for anything.
Question: What is my reluctance from speaking to this person stemming from?
Answer: I believe it’s stems from the fact that I thought we were cool. And regardless of money, even if the person were a millionaire, I would not have felt he was obligated to give me anything. But the fact that he promised something and avoided me as if I were a pesky beggar made me question the entire friendship. My thinking is, “Where would we pick up from here? If we ain’t soul after almost 20 years, I can’t see it materializing now.”
When it comes to my inner circle, I am fiercely loyal. And when that loyalty is not returned as opposed to rolling over like I did back in the day for the sake of being what I believed was Christian about it, I’ve had a change of heart. Now when folks cross me a certain way, I just tend to be done with them. Not cause I’m mad, but because I just don’t have time to pretend that a close friendships is anything but superficial if that is all it really is. Everyone has superficial people in their lives. And with these folks we don’t expect much. But a friend is supposed to be a friend.
I had some beef with another friend of mine for a minute. And because we were boys for real, we eventually had our say man to man and hashed the stuff out. I consider him an even better friend now. We got through a big storm where feelings were hurt on both sides. We learned that our loyalty was strong even when we didn’t think it was. I say that to say this is not about X’ing people out of my life just because I feel like it. As I said I value my inner circle.
So what do you think? Am I being too cold in this situation? Am I holding a grudge? Should I have responded to this person and perhaps he would have apologized? (From what I know of this person, I don’t think he would have said anything about it. I think he just wanted to pretend like it was all good though I could be wrong) This is my dillema. The old way of thinking for me would be the quickly accept this person back into my good graces. The older, wiser me (in my opinion) says, F it! No hard feelings on my part, but like Mint Condition, “We’ve Nothing Left To Say.”
You asked if you were holding a grudge and I have to say…. YES, you are holding a grudge! Unforgiveness can create adverse affects to your cardiovascular system. Holding a grudge could lead to unwarranted stress to your heart and immune system, which could incur a heart attack. Let whatever feelings you have for that person go regardless of whether they are able to communicate their feelings about the situation or not. Let go even if you never speak again. Take this as a true-life lesson and apply it to the train analogy. Family, friends, lovers, and enemies are always getting on and off your train of life. Many times, we do not understand the reasons why someone abruptly disappears in our lives, but they do and will. Let go of the feelings of animosity and learn from the negative experienced. For the sake of your mental and physical health, do not carry any issues when the other person apparently has not expressed whether they care or not. If your friend wishes to make amends then you can face that moment when it occurs. If he never shows up, then let his baggage set on the curb with him and let it all go. Take it as his loss and your gain, but whatever you do LET IT GO!
its a good question
you know me lol, i have to think both ways on it
(im going to make it brief cause i gotta get ready for school xD)
avoiding you was wrong, a simple “couldnt do it” would have been fine.
the ONLY thing is…
to me that “Hey” could have led to ANYTHING
i mean if you put yourself in his situation he seems like a friend that DID wanna help you out.
and if “I” was YOUR friend i would definitely want to help you.
personally i wouldnt have responded to the text right away but i would have saved it until i thought about it more. and THEN erase it or respond.
oh and that mp3 im trying to attach to an email is NOT working but ill try later
Here’s my thoughts, good or bad.
Maybe the “Hey” was his indication that he wanted to continue the relationship. By not responding, you may have passed up an opportunity to heal the situation. Since you’re blogging about it, it appears you haven’t really let it go, and it will be very difficult until you have real talk with him. However, if he doesn’t want to talk, you’re under no obligation to continue the friendship.
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” However, forgiveness does not necessitate reconciliation. Jesus forgave from the Cross when nobody asked. Martin Goldsmith said, “Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.” When you can let go of the past and treat your friend as if it didn’t happen, you’ll know forgiveness is in effect.
Just thinking out loud.
Thanks for weighing in. I don’t think I’ve thought about the situation enough for it to cause myself any damage from the stress or weight of holding a grudge. I do agree that it bothered me and as Jim mentioned that’s at least part of the reason I blogged it… so I will start fixing my mind to let it go.
“Upon further review”… and the more I think about it I think I do hold a sense of unforgiveness here. I didn’t write it soeley because it was bothering me. I wanted to blog that subject anyway, but the freshness of it made me refer to this example as opposed to another one. I am good at compartmentalizing things so that may have hidden the hurt feelings I still carry.
You’re right, perhaps it could have opened up an opportunity. And when I think of this person, I don’t think so much of the 20 years of great things I think of this. Since this is the first time there was an opportunity for money to be exchanged on his part to me, (I have purchased things for him when he couldn’t get to a certain store with the agreement that he would get me back.. don’t remember if he did or not but I didn’t care to keep up with it cause I don’t operate like that generally) I feel in a sense like most of the good stuff I thought was good was kinda surface when I thought it was deep. I guess that is another issue? I don’t know. At some point I may say “hey” back. Since I am not sure how I will feel if he either a) tries to pick up a conversation or b) ignores me back then it won’t be today. I will have to do it when I am ready for whatever.