Let us endure everything, and be very glad to do so, and love those who do us wrong; for, greatly as we have offended this great God, He has not ceased loving us, and so He has very good reason for desiring us all to forgive those who have wronged us. ~ St. Teresa of Avila
We are ardently pushed to see the good life as something which inspires others to mimic what is seen in us. It is this stance which brings about our deepest needs to deceive ourselves. Life isn’t smooth. The vast majority of life’s rough terrain is just life itself and not that we have done something wrong. In here lies a significant part of what it means to forgive. Since many of those wrongs happening to us each day are those little things someone else did and without direct connection to those of us hurt by whatever that was.
One of my least favorite examples of this is when I’m cut off from getting across the street by a car making a slow turn. Those drivers have little on toward no knowledge of my wanting to use the same territory. By taking care of their own needs I’m deprived from what I’d prefer. So why forgive them St. Teresa of Avila?
Well, several years ago I was in the process of refusing to hospitalize a female patient, who clinically didn’t need it. I knew her history and that one of her best friends was on the same psychiatric unit she wanted admit to. Rather than accepting my offer to see her later that day because of the real distress in her life by not being able to visit that friend. Take me rather seriously since the patient had long been diagnosed with a Borderline Personality Disorder.
Anyway, in response she put a knife to my throat. Nothing happened to me. Unexpected by her, I put a 72 hr hold on her which was ended the next day. I will not pretend that I have fully forgiven this woman for threatening to cut me. At the same time, I can tell you that I have kept learning to truly forgive her underway all of these years. Perfect in that forgiveness, I don’t expect but I want to forgive her more for her benefit than for mine.
You see, this woman didn’t really scare me. Knowing that she was putting a pocket knife to my throat to force admission wasn’t much more than an accidental threat to my life. Only by riling her up further would I have been in danger. So then, my desire has everything to do my wish to see her healed…either here or over there.