As I write this, I'm not sure where I'm going with it.
Recently in the news there have been two huge stories of significant past misdeeds. One involves a former speaker of the House of Representatives and the other involves a brother in a family featured on a television show. Example 1: Many years ago a former speaker of the House was a teacher and, allegedly, engaged in homosexual acts with a student. Example 2: Quite a few years back, when they were all minors, a brother fondled two of his sisters.
The emotional damage these sexual acts can be felt for generations, there will always quiet whispers and secrets told more as gossip; imaginations will run wild. My guess is that many people have skeletons in the closet that they think are carefully hidden- but they're not. They live their lives hoping that past misdeeds will be lost with other unpleasant memories. Some errors in life are somewhat minor (exaggerated by time) while some wrongful acts are beyond horrible and should be exposed. And then again, sometimes people make mistakes, learned from them, and have moved on.
Somewhere in here is forgiveness. In forgiveness there are two primary parties: the actor and the one acted upon. The one acted upon carries the pain and scars and the act of forgiveness is a difficult one. But there are times when the actor carries a lifetime of guilt that affects their life as well.
For the actor...forgiveness, misunderstood, is an easy out; kind of "no harm, no foul". I don't think that's forgiveness. I think forgiveness is a time of soul searching, gut wrenching self examination. A time in which the consequences are considered, the long term ramifications are appreciated, and the soul weeps- and with deep regret life is lived. In this case, perhaps the hardest forgiveness to forgive one's self.
For the victim, the one who suffered and may still suffer, forgiveness seems to be- "letting go"; the pain may still remain; the pain may be visible or the scars seen only by the most trusted. Letting go doesn't mean, "it's okay". Letting go might mean, "you (the actor) wounded me but I will do what I can to minimize the damage you've caused me life."
A lot is written about forgiveness in the Bible and religion talks about forgiveness a lot. There's a lot of great sayings about forgiveness, but I think I'll let this post stand as it is. For those of you wounded because you have suffered a wrong and for those of you seeking salvation because you have inflicted suffering...I hope you find peace.