I’m honored to have Ane Mulligan with us today. She’s one of those ladies always ready to lend a hand or a kind word of encouragement. She plays a vital role in the rapidly-growing ACFW critique group and has an eye for that timid newbie, ready to take them under her wing. We’ve been discussing forgiveness on my personal blog, and because lack of forgiveness destroys countless marriages each year, I decided to bring the topic here. Each day, we offer grace to the slightly rude man in the grocery line, the distracted clerk at the library, and the inconsiderate driver on the freeway, because we’re Christians and that’s what we do, right? Forgive as we’ve been forgiven? Demonstrate the grace of God by dishing out a bit of our own? But then we come home to our not-so-perfect spouses, who are supposed to be our knights in shining armor. Suddenly, forgiveness isn’t so easy.
Here’s Ane’s story:
The Hardest Ones to Forgive
Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is the one we love the most. We expect better from them. I can’t even remember what the argument was about, now, or what he said that hurt my feelings.
But I definitely remember the feelings. You know the “poor me” ones. Why is it wallowing in self-pity feels so good? I stood at the kitchen sink, long after he’d gone to work, washing the same cup over and over again and crying.
Of course, y’all know that’s exactly when the Holy Spirit decided this was an excellent time for an attitude adjustment. Well, I couldn’t agree more. The hubs certainly needed one!
Oh … You meant me? ME?
I argued with the Lord for a while. I mean really. After what I’d been subjected to, I needed some more wallow time. Finally I said, “Okay, Lord. Take these feelings from me. I forgive him.”
I dunked the cup back in the water, splashing soap bubbles up in my face. As quickly as I’d handed over my feelings to God, I snatched them back. “But he was so mean.”
Disclaimer here: the hubs was not mean. It was a clear case of I was right and he was wrong and refused to admit it—wink.
This tug-of-war with my self-pity went on for another 20 minutes. Finally, I gave up and gave into God. I let Him take my feelings and work on me. He could work on the hubs later.
I dried the cup and put it away. Then I tried to tap into my feelings again, but the Lord had done what He promised. They were gone. There wasn’t one iota of self-pity left. I’d truly forgiven.
What a freeing feeling. I had to laugh. I could hear the Lord chuckling at me and laughter is so contagious.
Hmm … I may try that next time.
Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, she’s worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, drama director and writer—her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for fiction (try saying that three times fast). She’s editor of the popular literary blog Novel Journey—one of Writers Digest’s 101 Top Websites for Writers, a humor columnist for ACFW’s e-zine Afictionado, and a past Board member of ACFW. She’s published dozens of plays and numerous articles and won several awards in contests for unpublished novels. A mom and grandmother, she resides in Suwanee, GA, with her husband and one very large dog.