I'll Hold My Breath Until I Am Blue in the Face!

Many years ago, I saw a light comedy movie about a middle class American family. I think it was a Doris Day movie. Several times during the movie the family’s youngest child would try to force his parents to give into his demands by proclaiming, “If you don’t give me what I want, I will just hold my breath until I am blue in the face! Then you will be sorry.” Well, of course, the child could not compel his parents to submit to his will by this threat. And, the child’s need to breathe always won out.

Yet, when we refuse to forgive someone until they pay a penalty, show honest remorse which is acceptable to us, or otherwise reform their ways, aren’t we acting like the child in the movie? If we condition the granting of our forgiveness upon the other person’s compliance with our terms we are not forgiving. Our insistence upon this jumping through various hoops means we are still hooked in to the other person. We are not letting go. We are not finally agreeing to leave all the negative energy behind, back there, back then.

Forgiveness means to let go. When we are able to let go, grace can then fill the mental/emotional/spiritual space previously occupied by the wrong or the betrayal done to us. Like the old television commercial of several decades ago advised, a wife recommending Alka-Seltzer to her husband to get rid of his upset stomach-----“Try it. You’ll like it.”