Forgive & Choose Not to Remember

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“I will never not be mad at Rory for falling for Jess while dating Dean. #GilmoreGirlsProbs”
This is a tweet that appeared on my Twitter earlier this week. I’ll admit, I am one of those fans who has strong feelings about Gilmore Girls, and Jess is BY FAR my least favorite of Rory Gilmore’s boyfriends. Maybe it’s his “the world hates me and I could star in the Breakfast Club” act, or maybe it’s the fact he is seriously disrespectful (and I cannot stand disrespect), or maybe it’s just the fact he wedges his way between two people where he doesn’t belong and ends a relationship. Either way, I have some very strong feelings about the Rory/Dean/Jess love triangle.

However, this love triangle is fiction. Rory Gilmore, Dean Forester, and Jess Mariano are not real people. I can be mad at Rory, I can hate Jess, and my heart can break for Dean all I want because ultimately these people do not exist and this messy love triangle did not happen.

Yet this tweet got me thinking about how often we keep this mentality throughout our daily lives. We get mad at people, we hold grudges, and ultimately we find it hard to forgive.

Also earlier this week I had a dear friend come to me for advice on forgiveness, specifically what scripture has to say about it. I was extremely happy to help. As I finished my lunch, I began skimming my brain for the best material to provide him. I flipped through scripture looking for some of my favorite passages and prayed God would give me the wisdom to present His words to this other person.

I read over the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount on how we are to forgive as our Heavenly Father forgives us. I recalled the words Christ spoke to Peter on how we are to forgive not up to seven times but seventy times seven. Words of Christian authors and theologians came flooding through my thoughts like a tidal wave that could not be stopped. God was reminding me of all those Sunday school lessons how forgiveness is from the heart and a reflection of His love for us.

I was writing down every thought that entered my head as frantically as I could so I could at least be somewhat organized when I spoke with my friend when suddenly God hit me with it – “Tell him about her.”

I froze. She was a former friend of mine before we had an unfortunate falling out. The situation is one I don’t like to address much simply due to the amount of pain it caused me. Yet I could not shake the idea this could be relevant. Maybe my friend really needed to hear this or maybe God just really wanted me to tell this story. So I did.

The story was one I had only ever really discussed with my mom until that moment. As a bit of backstory, she and I were pretty close. When tensions rose between us she came to me to apologize and we slowly started to talk things out. No, things weren’t perfect, but I figured a little bit of awkwardness would be better than a complete schism. Things never went back to normal. Only a few weeks later would she and I face the final straw in our relationship.

During the process of the falling out I felt beyond betrayed. In my mind I was the one who extended her the hand of forgiveness and she took advantage of it. To make it worse, from my perspective it seemed as if everyone in the world took her side. Can you image it? I was the one “wronged” and everyone still supported her decisions! The pain was a lot to deal with (and yes I was being incredibly selfish throughout the process).

Our falling out was odd. We never had a yelling match that resulted in us storming off, never to speak to each other again. We both knew the situation was escalating, and one day she and I both woke up realizing everything would be different. We never had to speak a word to each other to realize what happened between us. From that day forward we silently went our separate ways.

For a few months I allowed my feelings to fester. I was so angry at her but I knew there was nothing else I could do. By that point what was done was what was done. Then around six months after we hadn’t spoken, God (seemingly out of nowhere) placed her on my heart. I had no idea what to do with this. She had hurt me, she had betrayed me, why should I care about her?

Ever so gently, God methodically placed her in my thoughts. I still didn’t know what to do so I prayed. I prayed God would show me what to do with these thoughts. I prayed He would help me realize the significance of this. I just prayed.

In a matter of days my prayers were transformed. I began praying for her. No, not in the hell-fire, smite her and bring her justice ways either. I prayed for her as the beautiful creation God created her to be. I spent hours on hours praying for her heart, her relationship with Christ, that she would live a blessed life filled with joy, and primarily that I forgave her. Yes, I prayed for the very person I would have easily considered my nemesis at the time.

The funny part of the entire process was as I prayed for her, I noticed I began to change. I may have no idea the affects the prayer had on her life, but as I prayed for her it was as if God began lifting a burden off my shoulders. God used my prayers of forgiveness for her to show me the anger I had been harboring for all those months was dragging me down.

As I expressed my forgiveness toward her and my remorse for holding a grudge, I was freed. My Father spent those months showing me that repaying “evil” for “evil” was only hurting me in the end. I realized how heavy the burden was weighing me down and forgiveness became what rescued me in the end.

Most importantly, God reminded me I had no reason to remain angry at her. He loves me when I am the least lovable. He forgives me knowing I will turn around and make the same mistake again and again. I had no reason to say the pain I had endured was unforgivable. I had to forgive her and then strive to choose not to remember the pain or the actions, the same way my Father does for me.

C.S. Lewis states it best when he says “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” I had pulled that line on others before and this time God was reminding me it was time for my words and my actions to align.

Forgiveness involves our attitudes and our actions. If we love others the way Christ loves us, we will be willing to forgive. We have experienced grace and therefore have no reason to not extend it to others.

While I may struggle extending grace to Jess, forgiving Rory, and not throwing pity parties for Dean, God showed me the beauty that can come from facing these acts in reality.

Even though she and I haven’t spoken since those last moments, I still pray for her. At the end of the day, the prayer continues to change me and helps me heal. Praying for her provides a constant reminder of what Christ did for me, and I am forever thankful for it.

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