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Why Does Forgiveness Often Lag?

By Steve Wickham

Even though God knows we may never fully achieve healing this side of eternity, we're still asked to try... in this case, to forgive. And, this because of a promise: we wake one morning, and suddenly realise, HEALED ARE WE!

Who did it, but God?

The issue either no longer matters or the pain's removed altogether. Only God can do this. No other rationale contends with the miraculous.


Caught between the past and the future, the present holds us - somewhat hurt; acutely at times... chronically at others... residually, the hurt thought recurs.

The in-between is our problem - the time after the hurt but before healing satisfactorily amends the situation.

Forgiveness lags because we've been thrown into a reprehensible situation. We learned that life can be horrible; that our relationships can be ripped apart or ripped from us or that we're easily betrayed; that life and outcomes often change or end unpredictably, unsatisfactorily; with stinging finality.

Forgiveness lags for so many reasons we might be aware of; and for so many reasons we cannot yet (or at times, ever) be aware of.

The 'why' may not actually be the issue.

Regardless of all things - including the blessings of forgiveness for those so gifted - we need to bear in mind that it's okay for the real experience of forgiveness, of healing, to lag.

This also helps us understand why others might find it hard to forgive us; beyond their own best-of-efforts. Why do we judge them for a lack of intimacy when we too have contributed barriers?

A broader perspective prevails...

We can only appreciate the in-between time as a stage of life where God's teaching us things we don't yet know, but ought to. The discomfort is for our own good.


God simply requires we keep trying. The effort apportioned in grace will be blessed, eventually. Resilience is its own reward; the by-product, the strength of hopeful joy.

The more we practice forgiveness, the more we learn, the more mature we become.

Hurts can be thought of as feedstock for learning; learning is, in turn, feedstock for growth in maturity - the overall goal of the spiritual person desiring completion.

The complete person is open. They will accept the malleability of the God-designed life. They've learned to grasp challenges and trials without thought of recompense. Perhaps they see life through others' lives, and through God's sight too.

Their openness to all God has for them will see them blessed, eventually.

Copyright (c) 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). His blogs are at: and

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