She'd come up in conversations with friends in the last couple weeks, and I realized I hadn't forgiven her. I had thought I had: in college I remember intense times in prayer with God trying to forgive everyone in my past. I thought I had. But it's not forgiveness if you still dwell on the wrong doing, if the first thing you think of is the transgressions when that person comes to mind. Except in a situation where the only thing you know of the person is the transgression, for example, a clerk at a bank who messed up your account and you'd never met before. Obviously, if you ran into that person at the grocery store, that's what you'd think of because it's your only frame of reference.. but in that case, there should be no anger or other negative emotions when you think of it if you've really forgiven them.
I realized that forgiveness wasn't in me when I thought of her, because of the clenching in my gut. And God says this about forgiveness:
"If you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. But if you don't forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing."
Forgiveness is essential to the Christian faith, and I felt shame that I'd not forgive her already. It was pride, but I thought I had forgiven those in my past. I am glad Jesus brought this to my attention. I prayed the other day to forgive her, and it was put out of my mind for the moment...
Then last night, she came to mind so I looked her up on facebook. I saw pictures of her with her husband, and I found myself smiling. I looked at her face, which is precious to the Lord, and felt warmth. As I wrote this, something wanted me to dwell again on transgressions that were forgiven, but now I call to mind the person she is, not my narrow impression of her from our past, and I forgive. And I feel love for her, and freedom.
That's forgiveness. And it is so good.