An incident with a dear friend compelled me to revisit the Biblical principle of forgiveness. I know the verses. I know forgiving someone is for my benefit, not theirs. I know I must continually confess my sins to Christ. I must always seek forgiveness from someone I have injured.
I discovered this loved one does not understand forgiveness. My friend is performance oriented. Their relationships are based on what a person does or does not do. Not on who they are. I did something my friend thought I should not have done. To me it was a misunderstanding of the original intent. To them, it was a gross injustice. My friend responded with anger, hateful verbal (and written) assaults, and unmerciful criticism.
I asked for forgiveness, genuinely and kindly. They would not forgive me. My dear friend said they could not. If I really cared for this person I would not have done what I did, they scolded.
Several days passed and I was able to physically undo what I had done to cause my friend to become angry. When my friend discovered that I “undid” what I did to make them mad, my friend’s whole demeanor changed towards me, as if nothing had ever happened. Not because I asked for forgiveness.
I feel sad for my friend who still must learn what unconditional forgiveness is and how it impacts our lives.