Sometimes one has to shamelessly not apologize for reading People magazine while getting a pedicure. And sometimes, without regret, we admit that the latest excerpt of truth comes from none other than the late night soap opera, Grey’s Anatomy.
In the scene, fan favorite, Christina, has a conversation with her best friend’s husband, Dr. McDreamy. He’s furious with her now ex-husband/continued on-again, off-again love interest, Owen, for good reason; but because further details would render me actually admitting the absurdity of the show’s plot line, let me focus on this simple interaction:
Christina: Forgive him.
Derek/McDreamy: It’s not that easy.
Christina: I know. [Deep, dramatic doctor pause.] Forgive him anyway.
I’d brainlessly been watching the show in the wee hours of the morning, as Cancan’s taken to teething in recent weeks. But I was lucid enough to hear Truth in those words, so paused my computer and typed the words into my rainy-day writing file.
I’ve been musing over its profundity ever since.
Forgive him anyway. This need to forgive regardless fights against everything inside me, as it vies to replace and outbid she who always wants to be right and to be understood. The ugly, human me wants to get the last word in, because in some messed up way I believe that means I come out on top. But then I don’t want a relationship to remain messy, so the People-Pleaser me puts on the face, and instead of dealing with the root of the problem, I mask the anger with concession. I yield.
And that’s where the beauty of these three words begins: what if the cycle of needing to be right and wanting to get the last word in and masking hurt with a face I think the world wants to see could be solved with actually letting go?
What if I began to actually practice forgiving him anyway, even if it’s hard, even if it doesn’t make sense, even if it’s not what my natural self wants to do?
What if, even if I’d already -technically – forgiven he who’d wronged me once, that I might need to keep practicing forgiveness another 70 times 7 times? I guess Jesus knew that life wasn’t always going to be so easy, and that learning to release the various hurts encountered along the way might just take time. It’s almost like Jesus knew that cultivating an attitude of forgiveness wasn’t a one-hit wonder, a singular act, but that it took a lifetime to enter into this way of being.
Because sometimes it will take saying “I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you,” over and over again before a real attitude of forgiveness rests in our hearts. And that’s okay.
I suppose, at the end of the day, it’s what I hope for. Might we all learn to forgive him anyway.0