Maybe that's what forgiveness is, just dropping the stone.
I've been wrestling, choosing to forgive, but then wondering if I really have. Is it forgiveness if I still remember? But I may never truly forget. It is the anger that sometimes comes with the remembering that makes me think there is work yet to be done.
And so I have spent much time before the Lord about this. Trying to learn how to forgive, figure out what exactly forgiveness is, and sometimes wondering if I am just playing games to avoid doing what I just need to do.
Forgiveness and trust are two different issues. Okay, so it makes sense that there can be forgiveness, but still a change in the relationship.
Forgiveness means agreeing to live with the consequences, pay the price, of the wrong that has been done (you have to live with them anyways--just a matter of whether or not you are willing). Okay...so I tried to think through that...what are the consequences? Perhaps listing and mental assent would help.
I participated in an activity--a "Living Scripture" analogy. It was about the woman caught in adultery--a reading of the passage, then a more personalized interpretive reading. At the end, an activity.
I knew this activity was coming...I had known for several weeks. I wanted to be able to say, with all integrity "neither do I condemn you". Ah, but in my heart I do sometimes still condemn (rotten heart of mine), and want to hold onto the condemnation. NO!! They must go free. They must be forgiven... I kept bringing this before the Lord.
On the day ... I handed the stone, and said, "Neither do I condemn you." (It is a choice to forgive. I can do this. this is my choice.) They looked at me ... not reaching out to take the stone. I asked, "Is there anyone left to condemn you?" They said, "Yes."
But then I rephrased it, and this is where the new understanding came. "Is there anyone without sin, that can cast the first stone?" (pause) "I am not. I am not without sin, I can't condemn you." The answer to "anyone without sin?" "Yes, One." But what did He say? He didn't condemn either.
Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
Maybe that's all forgiveness is--dropping the stone. When the memories come, when the anger threatens to surface--remember being there in the crowd, and the One without sin looking at me and saying... and remembering...
No, I am not without sin, I have no stone to throw at you. I drop my stone.