I had a discussion months ago with Abigail about the concept of forgiveness. I believed it was a two-way street, that in order to forgive someone, that that person first had to be remorseful for their transgressions. She believed that this was not so; that Scriptures require us to forgive someone even if they don't ask us for forgiveness. She was right, as usual.
In the New Testament, there are numerous discussions of forgiveness. We are supposed to forgive any transgression, as many times as necessary, even "unto seven times seventy times." Even if the person doesn't ask for our forgiveness.
I'm unclear as to some of the specifics, though. Even of we forgive, are we to roll over every time the transgressor hurts us? That doesn't make sense. It seems to me that with unlimited, unconditional forgiveness, we simply give an abuser license to abuse us. There seems to be an implication that there can be a last time to forgive, a 491st transgression, if you will.
Or perhaps, that we have the right to remove ourselves from the presence of the transgressor. You may forgive someone who abuses you, but if you stick around, you have to expect to be doing a lot more forgiveness, as an abuser will take it as consent.
I say all this because I received an apology note from my wife for picking a fight on Wednesday night. I can forgive that. I have before. But there is a fundamental disagreement, an underlying argument that is irreconcilable. I don't see any way to work around it. Every time I want to talk about anything even remotely related, no matter how peripherally, she reacts with instinctive hatred and animosity. So, I have to tiptoe around a subject that has become central to my life for fear of provoking an angry reaction.
It's not fair to me and it's not fair to her. If she's going to have the opportunity to learn what I have learned and experience what I have experienced, it will necessarily have to be without me: My presence will prejudice her against acceptance. If I'm around, she will never accept and the conflict will make everyone around miserable.
We were always friends, which I think was a strength of our relationship.We enjoyed doing things together, going places, seeing movies and plays, amusement parks, hiking. Tomorrow night, I got free tickets to the Improv; We'll go and have dinner and maybe laugh out loud. But I think our spiritual journey, the most important of all our travels together, is likely coming to an end. I've gone someplace where she refuses to follow, and to go back would be to turn my back on God. I have work to do here, and she doesn't want to be a part of it, resents the need I feel to do that work.
I'll forgive her for that, but like I said before, the chasm between us has likely grown too wide and deep to be spanned, and it may be better to part now (or soon), while we can still BE friends, or at least friendly. I don't know where to go from here. Or, rather, I kind of do, but I'm not strong enough yet to make that leap of faith.
Life is hard.