Monthly Archives: April 2008

Unexpected Forgiveness

I’ve decided that I can forgive someone I’ve been holding a grudge against for 6 years. In that time I’ve done bible studies on forgiveness, taken classes discussing forgiveness, worked on forgiving everyone for everything I was resentful for EXCEPT this one person; I couldn’t forgive her for what she did to me and the way that she did it.

But, thanks to Dr. Brunner, who encouraged my class to do Step Four of the 12-Step programs, I have figured out how to forgive her. I read through Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which covers Step Four (confusing yes?) and this sentence stood out to me in Bold Neon colors: “We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.”

Well…. so, that means I can view her as a person who is spiritually sick? Someone whose actions toward me are no reflection on me. Her choices about how to treat me could be based on a spiritual sickness. Can I see her as spiritually sick? Yes, I can. I think she is fatally ill if that’s how we’re going to describe her. But, that’s her problem, not mine. I don’t have to forget what happened, I don’t have to reconcile or accept her behavior, but I can let it go. The power that she’s been holding over me for 6 years can float away into the ether. It’s not there anymore. I feel sorry for her instead. What a sad, sick woman, who needs to be in control to feel okay, who fires people for made up reasons, who shames them by escorting them out of the building. I still dislike her, but I don’t have to be bitter and resentful anymore, and that releases a spiritual sickness of my own.