The other day whilst delivering the mail, I was listening to one of my favorite bands at extremely high volume when a song came on that triggered a memory. I wish I could say it was a good memory, but unfortunately, in this case it wasn’t. Without getting too in depth to the nuts and bolts of it all, the song reminded me of my ex-wife’s second affair during our doomed marriage. More specifically, it made me remember the guy she cheated on me with. Now, before I continue on, I would be remiss to leave out the fact that my first marriage didn’t fail solely because of my ex-wife, it failed because of her AND because of me. I am under no illusions that I was perfect in that marriage. With that caveat out in the open, I’ll kindly progress to the point of this drivel.
The guy that my ex had an affair with in this case was what the church refers to as a “baby christian.” He hadn’t been going to church for very long at that point; in fact, my ex may have been the reason he started going. I don’t know, and at this point, I don’t care. On one occasion, God led me to this guy’s house when my ex was there, though she wasn’t supposed to be. I confronted him, and his response was this: “hey man, I know she’s married, but I don’t know how this is supposed to work.” Really? You don’t know how a christian man is supposed to behave in regards to a married woman? Needless to say, I harbored some ill will towards him after that.
*quick question: if something is “needless to say,” why do we usually end up saying it anyways? Just a thought...but I digress.
Back to the present time, and me rocking out to the incredible music of the band Demon Hunter, and remembering a pretty shitty time in my life. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I hadn’t yet forgiven my ex-wife or this guy. I mean, if I had forgiven them, then why would I be lingering on the damage and anger that this past shituation (yeah, I just created a new word...feel free to use it) had caused in my life? Why did it all of a sudden seem to be dragging my spirit into a dark place, yet again? Would I EVER be able to fully forgive them?
As I delivered bills and jury duty summons, I began praying for understanding, for the ability to forgive these people who are no longer in my life, for peace and healing. Out of nowhere, this thought popped into my head: have I ever forgiven myself for that situation? Sure, my ex and this dude had been in sin, but so was I, right? I have no option other than to bear some of the blame for my ex-wife feeling it was necessary to run to the arms of another man. I failed her. I can point out specifics, but they aren’t needed to get the point across, in my opinion. The fact is, how can I expect to truly forgive them for what they did to me when I haven’t forgiven myself for the things I did to allow that door of infidelity to be opened in the first place?
I’ve been thinking about writing this blog since that day I dealt with these thoughts, and for some reason, The Art Of Forgiveness came to mind as a title. At first thought, the title seems a little weird. Yet the more I think about forgiveness, the more I relate it to art. As a musician, when I craft a new drum part for either of my band’s songs, I go through many stages to build a final piece of art that will hopefully accomplish many things, such as inspiring others, eliciting emotions, fulfilling my creative juices, etc…. When I contemplate forgiveness, I feel that some of those same things are necessary in order to achieve finality, so to speak. Forgiveness is a process. It takes time, effort, a willingness to sometimes take a step backwards in order to take a couple more steps forward. Sometimes, it takes breaking things down in order to achieve something beautiful, and truly forgiving someone is a beautiful thing. True forgiveness can inspire others, it can bring about change in a spiritual sense, it can release healing where it’s needed.
I want to forgive my ex-wife and this guy, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully do so until I forgive myself for my sin in that relationship. If Jesus could forgive the very people who nailed Him to a cross, can’t I also forgive myself and others who have “done me wrong?” Peter asked Jesus how many times we are to forgive the brother who sins against us. Peter queried “seven times, Lord?” Jesus told Peter that we are to forgive that brother seventy times seven. In other words, it’s a process, and it may take a lot of time and effort. Forgiveness is an art I am willing to put the time into, believing that in the end, a beautiful work will be created in me and in others. I truly believe that forgiveness is an art we ALL can get good at, with His help and with our own willingness to work at it.