Forgiveness as a Staircase

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Posted by Doug Showalter on December 05, 1998 at 00:42:01: and added to by him on November 24, 1999.

On December 04, 1998 at 03:53:36: Emily wrote a post entitled "Re: Hey there" which contained the following words:

"As for the feeling tired part -- nobody dreams of that magical place where all of this hurt and pain would just melt away more than me. I thought that when I forgave my husband that an instant peace would just surround me -- but I have now discovered that forgiveness is like a stair case. My first step was to decide to get on the staircase. My everyday reality is to chose to keep taking one step at a time toward that ultimate goal. Occasionally, I trip on a stair or two. Sometimes I fall almost all the way to the bottom again. The only good part is that since I have practiced climbing - the stairs are easier the 2nd 3rd and 4th time around. A few times (more than I would like to admit) I would very much just like to give up and get off of the stairs all together. Then my husband will be there with an encouraging word -- you can do it. And I look over next to me and see that you are still climbing your stairs too and I think --- I can make it. Just a few more steps."

At that time, I responded to her message saying:

Dear Emily,

Thanks for your image of forgiveness as climbing a staircase. That gives me a lot to think about, and to imagine. Images of forgiveness seem fairly hard to come by in our society.

In a sense, the process of forgiveness requires our effort, our day by day steps. [I fully believe, as you said, that we first need to decide to get on the staircase.] But in another sense, finally reaching the landing at the head of the stairs we seek to climb, is--as I believe--God's gift to us. I'll be mulling this image over, to see how it might incorporate both aspects of the process--as I see it. Thanks. And may things go well for you and your husband.

Doug Showalter

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