Forgiveness Takes Time

August 25, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

If you know me at all in the real world, then you by all means should know about my golf rooting interests.  I have never been a fan of Tiger Woods.  It always had more to do with him being the overwhelming favorite and the way the press fawned over him, not anything personal.  I’m not saying that that there weren’t things about him personally that rubbed me the wrong way.  Dropping f-bombs on live national TV, that’s not cool.  I would often with friends rant about him and advocate for my favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson (I’m a lefty golfer as well and have followed him for about 13 years now).

When all of the new allegations came out last fall, his name became a punchline and a lot of people moved over to the rooting against Tiger Woods camp.  Certainly not the TV commentators, nothing has changed there, but that is a rant for a different day.  However, the one thing that I could not escape is that there was a real woman and two real children swept up in this.  My heart broke as I thought about Tiger’s wife, Elin Nordegren.  Not in a “You go girl.  Take him to the cleaners kind of way,” as if all that is involved here is money and ruining an arrogant celebrity.  This is a real woman who, by all accounts, genuinely loved her husband.

There is an interview with her coming out in People Magazine this week. (Will you judge me if I buy my first issue of People?)  They are teasing it today, and in the snippets that they give, it is apparent that she loved him and that her heart is broken.  She says that she never knew.  “I’m so embarrassed that I never suspected—not a one. For the past 3 1/2 years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school.”  I suppose a cynical person could say something to that.  Usually I am just cynical enough, but not this time.  My heart breaks for her as she tries to figure out what to do and how to put a life back together.  Again the cynic can go to $$$, but would you trade money for the life you have, for the people that matter most, for the tears shed by those little ones?

This post could easily turn into me taking shots at men, calling them to step up, take care of business at home.  It likely would, except I was struck by something that Elin said, “Forgiveness takes time.”  I know nothing about Elin’s spiritual life, but I wonder how someone in her situation could possibly forgive apart from experiencing the forgiveness that God offers through Jesus Christ.  What can it look like?  How long would it take?  Do you just get increasingly less angry until you don’t care anymore?  Do you have to build a different life and move on first?

It takes me a long time to stop burning angry for significantly smaller things and I have the Holy Spirit whispering at me, “Forgive like God through Christ forgave you.”  Forgiveness means that I will no longer hold this sin against you, as if you had never done it.  Forgiveness means it’s over.  How do you truly forgive?  How do you get beyond forgiveness meaning, “I’m not going to be demonstrably angry with you…for now?”

I’m convinced that it is only through experience.  You have to have experienced that kind of forgiveness to give it.  God has to have shown you that you are completely forgiven and experience that grace.  When God has forgiven us so much, how can we not pass that on?

It’s not easy, that’s for sure.  Forgiveness takes time, and Him.