28 September 2010

Let forgiveness beat your anger (please)

One morning, my grandpa and I were watching a televangelist lecture on the dangers of anger (strange, I know), and he turned to me and inquired "I don't think I've ever seen you get angry, do you?" I shook my head, shrugged my shoulders and answered "not really." That calm summer morning, I realized just how temperate my nature was.

I'm not an angry person - you will have to push several buttons on an already bad day if you want to get a rise out of me. But even then, my wrath won't last long. Still, I found myself irritated this week as I watched the various stages of a ridiculously drawn out argument. I felt their anger start to rub off on me, and I had to work hard not to join the fray.

Whenever I caught glimpses of their argument - I thought about how easy it would be for them to reconcile. If either person asked for forgiveness (because both were in the wrong) the strife would end. Instead, they decided to remain angry, held fast to the unhelpful position of "I'm in the right," and made us (the ones unfortunate enough to have witnessed the exchange) walk on eggshells.

I'm not sure how the quarrel ended - probably by a few mumbled "I'm sorry's" or maybe nothing at all - maybe they just got tired of bickering and moved on. Nevertheless, it got me thinking about the importance of forgiveness.

Most people think forgiveness happens like the time in grade school after that guy who tripped you was forced by the teacher to repeat the words "I'm sorry" in your general direction and you, standing straight and lifting you chin said, "that's okay." I suppose in some small, pathetic way that is forgiveness. But true absolution starts in the heart of the hurt long before it's requested. Pardon should be readily accessible so as to remove any barriers hindering a relationship.

Why cling to anger, when you could forgive and move on?

Said Alexander Pope

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