Some hurts time won't heal. Some words still sting 20 years later. Some wounds still gape open and every word we utter is through teeth clenched with pain.
Memory tears them open, over, and over again and all the shame and pain flood in as though it were only yesterday, those words fresh uttered, that cut bleeding fresh blood.
It's paralyzing to live with stray thoughts that can deflate and leave us sitting without the strength to carry on in the face of them.
We build memorials to our wounds, shrines for the pain, and visit them often, flowers in hand. For if no one else will pity us then we, at least, will.
We are crippled, beggars, victims of another's action and shackled to a past we can not forget and carry with us everywhere we walk.
We are graceless.
We are captive, and captor, keeping ourselves in this miserable prison, fist clenched tightly around the key.
"But I don't want to forgive," we wail. "They hurt me they deserve to suffer. Why should I have to forgive them."
We are too childish to see that the only one we hurt is our self reliving daily the moments that most wounded us.
We forgive to set ourselves free, not the other.
"But I can't, I don't feel like it. All I feel is hurt."
But we can. Grace is there to empower our words and our choice. I say the words, "I will forgive, though my heart is raw and stony. I will choose to be free. I will choose again the next day when the hurt returns again until I find that I no longer need to choose, for the hurt is gone, the sting extracted, and all that is left is a memory.
I set myself free.
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us."
Forgive me, as I forgive. Weighty words that remind me not to be stingy with the grace extended to me. For I am so desperately in need of it myself.