In looking at forgiveness as a central theme, I understand the need for reptition (Mack must forgive himself; his father; and, ultimately, Missy's killer). My question is: once given, is forgiveness an ongoing struggle? Or does true forgiveness mean that you never struggle with that same issue again? That's awkwardly worded; to use an example from the book: once Mack forgives the Ladybug Killer, does he never, ever feel anger toward him again?
This is just musing, so I'm really looking for opinions you are willing to share.
Often with forgiveness, speakers and writers discuss the issue of forgetting. When we humans forgive someone, we are agreeing to put behind us bitterness toward the offender and act as if the offense never happened. However, that does not mean that the person offended can completely forget offense. So, yes, I agree that forgiveness itself is an ongoing struggle with most humans, but if true forgiveness was offered, then the struggle should be an internal one, not an continuing external one between the offender and the offended.
Objectively, forgiveness is the act of excusing a mistake or offense. Excuse is to overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with. Those things considered, it would seem that forgiveness could be an ongoing struggle within oneself to maintain the forgiveness. That would seem fitting with our very human natures. Hence the expression, “I can forgive, but I can never forget.” However, if you are looking for more spiritual truths, “ , , ,Christ casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness and he remembers them no more,” and that is perhaps what our goal should be. Here again, our human nature does struggle.