I am one of those people who does not like leaving unresolved conflict between myself and another person. If I am aware that there is a problem I want to work it out, talk it out, and collaborate until the skirmish is solved and all is forgiven. However, I have learned two things through the years regarding resolving conflict. First, different people process things differently; some want to contact the other person and work out the issues right away, leaving nothing hanging, feeling as if they can’t move forward until all is forgiven and made right. Others need to process, think, work through anger or hurt, and hopefully progress far enough to forgive and be reconciled. Second, some people have no desire to forgive or they put the full responsibility of forgiving on the other person and refuse to be reconciled, often holding on to resentment until it completely destroys not only the relationship that was, but harbors pain within themselves that rarely finds relief. There are extremes to both of these examples and there are many other ways of handling forgiveness found some place between these patterns. Personality types play a big part in how we deal with forgiveness and resolving being wronged or offending another person.

Because life can be very complex and there are many layers of understandings, experiences, and dynamics of being hurt or wronged, I would never suggest that forgiveness is simple. Most anything you can name that has to do with the experience of the human heart (emotions, feelings, reactions, passions, relationships, etc.) is not easy and susceptible to providing plenty of pain. There is no such thing as a conflict-free life. Conflict is just simply part of the human experience. But how we deal with conflict is the difference. A lifestyle of forgiveness certainly opens up more possibilities of a pleasurable life where reconciliation – seeking understanding, resolve, reunion, and mindfulness with and for each person – can bring healing of hurt and eliminate resentments that only eat at our heart, mind and soul.

Forgiveness benefits everyone. If you forgive another, not only do you pardon their wrong, God offers you release of stress, anger, and discord. Who needs to hang on to that?! Forgiveness, when practiced with honesty and integrity is a win-win opportunity. In his book, Forgiveness -Finding Peace Through Letting Go, Adam Hamilton says, “…we are bound to hurt others, and others are bound to hurt us. If we are to live successfully, and if we are ever to know freedom and joy, these six words must be a regular part of our vocabulary: ‘I am sorry’ and ‘I forgive you.’ Forgiveness is essential to our lives.” In Christian Century, Bethany Sollereder says, “Forgiveness is the radical response that catalyzes change.”

If you want to change your life, start forgiving, it will always begin a change for the better.
“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other;
just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” -Colossians 3.13 (New Testament)


Keith Haithcock, Photo by Jennifer Summer www.jennifersummer.com

From the Corner
is written by the
Rev. Keith M. Haithcock,
Pastor & Teacher of
St. John United Church of Christ
0n the corner of
Fairfield and Ward Aves.,
Bellevue, KY