(excerpt from work-in-progress book on spiritual abuse)
When is the exact moment we can say a rose opens?
A simple flower like a daisy opens in a single morning. One minute, it is closed tightly in a bud, the next it is in full bloom.
An old fashioned rose though? It’s never really finished opening.
From a tightly closed bud, the rose will loosen slowly. Softly. One petal after another will slowly unfurl. As each petal pulls away, it reveals another layer, still waiting to open. It continues to open for it’s entire life.
Can you hurry it? Can you force the petals open early? Pulling them away would only damage the rose.
And why would you want to hurry it? The rose is perfectly beautiful at every moment of its life. Doing exactly what it is supposed to do.
It’s a process to be savored.
Forgiveness isn’t a one time thing. Especially for significant harm. It’s a lifelong process.
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus knew this. What if instead letting someone perpetrate the same abuse against us seventy times seven times without setting boundaries… What if we are to forgive the SAME harm seventy times seven times? Like endless rose petals, new layers of forgiveness are always opening. As each layer unfurls, another layer of forgiveness is waiting to be discovered. What if Jesus was giving us permission for this to be a beautiful, intimate, and personal process, instead of microwavable “forgive and forget” instant reconciliation?
Forgiving abuse has nothing to do with allowing someone to continue harming you. It has nothing to do with pretending there wasn’t any harm done, or instant healing. It has nothing to do with continued relationship with the person.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with the person who harmed you at all.
When you forgive, you are a rose that delights the senses of God. You bloom for Him. Daily releasing, laying the hurt at His feet.
Layer by layer. Over and over.
Seventy times seven fragrant petals.