In an old gardening calendar, a poignant sentence illustrating a pathway littered with rose petals, jumped out at me. There was no reference to an author, but the sentence read, “forgiveness is the odor flowers give off when flowers get trampled on.” It reminded me of a discussion I recently had with one of my sisters about forgiveness.

She insisted that the proof of my forgiving someone who “trampled” on me is a reuniting with that person. That did not sit well with me because I don’t think that forgiveness is a matter of an equation; if you do this + that = the answer. Life isn’t calculated that neatly. A wrong plus forgiveness doesn’t necessarily result in reconciliation.

I visualize forgiveness as being the answer to the question, “what comes forth from my essence when I have been crushed, misrepresented, humiliated, or degraded?” If Christ is truly who fills my soul, it is his essence, his fragrant love that should ooze out.

The purpose of my forgiving another is not that I get back in a relationship with the person who has wronged me, but that a vengeful stance no longer has the power to control my state of mind, my equilibrium, or my daily living. I don’t need that person to reunite with me, but to reunite with his/her maker. I pray that after a good trouncing,  I only give off the sweet aroma of forgiveness, not the fetid stench of revenge. 

What aroma rises from you after you’ve been crushed?

Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Ephesians 4:32