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Monday, February 14, 2011

True Valentines Keep No Records of Wrong

Happy Valentine's Day! Being the day dedicated to love, I thought I'd touch on an aspect of love that often gets overlooked: forgiveness. According to First Corinthians 13, love "keeps no records of wrong."

Does this mean that we just let it roll of our backs after a good cry? Or should we just not acknowledge that feeling of hurt?

NO! To do that is to live a lie. What God wants is forgiveness, as he has called us to forgive "seventy seven" (i.e., unlimited) times. There are two primary ways to forgive, which can be incorporated into our novels and lives.

The first type is Restoration Forgiveness. This is the type that we most often want to encounter, but often eludes us fully. To have restoration is to have complete healing of the breach between two parties. Something as final as death or as inconvenient as geography can prevent this from happening. In its most ideal state, it looks like this:

1) Party A offends Party B
2) Party B chooses to forgive A
3) Party A, acknowledges the wrongdoing and accepts the forgiveness
4) Relationship between A and B is healed

Imagine two people hugging one another as a symbol of this type of forgiveness. It doesn't mean that Party B necessarily forgets what A did as if it never happened, but Party B lets go of the hurt and pain associated with the action and chooses to remember the good times together and not dwell on the offense. We're not God; we won't be able to forgive and forget as He does. 

The other type of forgiveness is Release Forgiveness. Compare to the above:

1) Party A offends Party B
2) Party B chooses to forgive A
3) Party A never acknowledges the wrongdoing
4) Party B chooses to release Party A

This is the hardest type to experience, and many never quite make it to the fourth point, choosing to hold on to their offense and their grudge. It is very important, if one of your characters (or even if someone you know in life) has this type of problem, to acknowledge their hurt. If Party A never acknowledges the hurt, then Party B may never move on.

A third party, though, (in many cases, a therapist) can help tremendously by just acknowledging the hurt, which in turn would help Party B be able to release it. Because before release is a possibility, the hurt has to be recognized and validated as an authentic, he/she-shouldn't-have-done-that hurt. Emotional health and healing will never occur as long as the bitterness is inside.

Application for Writers:

If you have one of your characters suffering from a hurt that hasn't been acknowledged, either by the wrong-doer or someone else, the chances of this character coming to a believable healing by the end of the book isn't feasible. Psychology tells us so. :)

If you have a hurt in your own life that resembles one that you need to release, tell someone about it that you trust, and let them help recognize the hurt for what it is so you can then release it and move on.

Wordle: signature


Keli Gwyn said...

What a helpful post, Jeannie. You just showed me what I need to do in my WIP in order for one of my main characters to overcome a past wrong. Thanks!

Susanne Dietze said...

Great post, Jeannie. This has given me a bit to think about *and* it helps me with my story.

Thanks! I hope you're well!

Jewel Sample said...

Timely post. Children can learn from these type of characters too.
Thank you for sharing

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.