It is possible, I suppose, to have compassion without forgiveness. It doesn’t necessarily take forgiveness to feed hungry homeless people or animals. It doesn’t take forgiveness to hug someone when they are hurt. It doesn’t require forgivness to help someone whose groceries just fell out of the bag all over the sidewalk. Compassion without forgiveness is possible.
It is possible as long as the compassion doesn’t involve us personally. Intimately. When someone has wronged us. That is some of the hardest times to show compassion. That is when it is hard to see things from their prospective. If you use compassion though it is possible.
There have been many times in my life that I needed compassion in order to forgive, and found it lacking. Some very big ones. However, I want to tell you about one somewhat small time. It happened recently and is what got me thinking along these lines.
Let’s go back say sixty days. I talked with my landlady and we discussed what our plans are for the future. She had no plans to sell the place; We had no plans to move. We decided to adopt a dog. A pitbull. We made sure it was okay with her. Life proceeded and we adopted a dog and had started to settle in.
Two plumbing issues within and the landlady said she is overwhelmed and must sell. We don’t really make enough to make even the lowest available rent out there. This was my worst fears come to pass. I managed not to cry until she left. I laid in bed and cried. Not a soft cry. A deep down from the bottom of your soul cry. I had a lot of bad thoughts. I had a lot of negative thoughts towards the landlady.
A few days passed. We got some things in order. Then things went from we had thirty to sixty days to get our stuff out to maybe two weeks. I was not happy. I already felt lost and overwhelmed.Now I felt rushed where I thought I had time. The landlady was willing to help. The landlady and I had agreed to meet the next day. A half hour before she was to arrive, I started panicking. I can’t do this. I can’t be nice. I don’t trust what I might say. My daughter is here. I don’t want to get nasty in front of her. Actually I don’t want to get nasty at all. I called a friend and asked if she could be over in time. She could. She did.
I had myself under control and my friend chatted with the landlady. I overheard little snippets as we went about getting stuff bagged up and out to the trash and what not. We finished packing up my friends truck. The landlady and I stayed and talked. She told me what she has been dealing with the last almost six months since her husband died. I literally felt it. I felt the forgiveness flow in, like a raging and crashing water rapid breaking over rocks. The compassion for her and her situation flowed up and around us. The amount of peace that gave me, there are no words.
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