I’ve been telling a story for over a decade, now. I tell it from memory, emphasizing the wrongs done to me. Friends listen and empathize: “That’s terrible!” they say, “How insensitive!” I think in the telling, the story gained momentum. Instead of becoming less angry, my anger grew, feeding on itself and taking root in my heart. I felt justified in holding onto this resentment; after all, this person was wrong. Insensitive.
Last weekend I spent some time cleaning out my office, and found an old box of pictures and letters. (Remember letters? What a treasure!) Reading through these old letters, I found one from this person, sent fifteen years ago. In the letter, this person acknowledges their insensitivity and asks for my forgiveness. They recognized the damage done to our relationship and sought restoration.
And I had completely forgotten about it.
In my hurt, I’m guessing that I just tossed the letter aside. I honestly can’t remember receiving it, but obviously somewhere along the line I chose to hold onto my resentment rather than forgive. And my resentment grew. For fifteen years, it grew.
I finally sat down and responded to this person with a letter of my own—a letter of apology and forgiveness. I pray for reconciliation.
Oh, how we need grace. We all so desperately need grace.