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Forgiveness: A Story

(This story was originally written in 2008.)

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

I’m sitting here huddled against the armrest on my side of the couch, seething and pondering my next move. My boyfriend is sitting at the other end of the couch, feigning petulance. He never actually gets angry, but he’s also refusing to let me get away with picking a fight. Well, he started it.

I mean, sure, he probably didn’t mean to say it in the negative way I heard it, but he could apologize instead of acting like I should just let it go. Why should I have to be the one to concede?

I look over at him. When he sees me turn my head, he looks back at me, then immediately turns away, huffy, nose in the air and arms crossed over his chest. His humor is probably intended to disarm my anger, but it has the opposite effect. He’s having a great time while I’m genuinely upset!

Well, probably not a great time. He came over tonight to spend time with me, and we’ve already wasted five minutes on this pointless fight. If he would just make one conciliatory gesture, I’d forgive him and we could go back to playing the game.

That stupid game! Thinking about what he said makes me upset again. I imagine getting off the couch and stalking to the other room. Ooh, it would just serve him right! Then he’d know how angry I am and have to come find me to apologize. My leg muscle actually twitches. But I can’t quite do it. This fight is his fault, but getting up and leaving would really be making mountains out of molehills. I don’t want to start a pattern of silent treatment or door-slamming or not dealing with issues; I’ve studied way too much about relationships to do that.

But aren’t we currently not dealing with it? He’s giving me the silent treatment and I’m waiting for an apology. What’s the use of all that relationship study again?

I could apologize, but I don’t want to start a pattern of me being a doormat, either. I’ve seen too many couples where the woman always assumes responsibility and apologizes and gives in and then their men get away with treating them like… well, doormats.

More precious minutes tick away. The evening isn’t turning out as fun as I anticipated.

I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for me to break the ice just this once. After all, he didn’t mean to upset me. (He should have known…) What’s that one Bible verse? “Bear with one another’s faults and forgive each other.” Something like that. Grumble grouse moan. I didn’t count on forgiving without being asked.

It just feels like losing! I hate losing. In a fair fight, I can take it (and by that I mean a game during which we’ve both followed the rules), but this — this is losing for no reason. Just because. Because I want to have fun with him more than I want to… be right? I am in the right here! But I’m giving up the right to be right. Well, no, I’m giving up the right to be angry. It’s just not productive. Oh, man. I love throwing myself pity parties! He doesn’t even realize what a sacrifice he’s — not asking for, but getting.

I take a deep breath, and sigh, and reach my hand out toward him. He takes it.

I’d love to cut the scene right there, with the happily-ever-after-until-the-next-time moment, and I’m kind-of feeling that way. He always makes me feel happily ever after. But I’m also sad to lose, even if I maybe did help start the fight. I feel guilty, because I didn’t stand my ground. I chose comfort over conquest.

But then again, maybe that’s what this world needs… a little less victory and a little more love.

Update: Eleven years later, I’m happy to report that I haven’t the faintest recollection of this moment, so I think choosing love over victory was the right decision.

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