Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Lost Art of Forgiveness

If I have told you of earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?
John 3:12
One of the most often asked questions regarding Christianity is why we need to be forgiven and the other is why we should forgive others. Forgiveness is really not very natural for human beings. We remember so much when it comes to interaction and communication that, by comparison to what we read and write, researchers recommend learning done by rote in preference to all other methods. As a result we remember things we ought to forget and forget things we need to remember especially regarding communication. There is no perfection in our characters which protects us from feeling offended- regardless of people's intentions- and so we are bound to fall into offense one way or another. Even the kindest people will hurt someone especially in the hypersensitive world we live in now.
     Sin adds another dimension to this system which, for protocol, is still basically the same. We need to be forgiven for transgressions against natural and supernatural laws and we should learn to forgive others in the natural world and sometimes have to cull on supernatural forgiveness for what we often deem egregious offense. Exercising forgiveness shows the world that you have faith in God. If you have a Bible handy I want you to look up Matthew 18:23-35. This parable of Jesus illuminates what happens when you are forgiven by God but turn around and are unforgiving to others. Jesus closing statement was, "Then the angry king sent the man to the torture chamber until he had paid every last penny due. So shall my heavenly Father do to you if you refuse to truly forgive your brothers."
     Peter had just asked Jesus, prior to this telling, "How often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?" Jesus answer was, "No, seventy times seven!" This clearly illustrates what Jesus expected of a follower. That's a lot of forgiveness. I don't know if it's humanly possible but I could say the same about a man dying on a cross for the sins of the world. Was it humanly possible? Obviously it was because even though Jesus was the son of God he was also very much a human being capable of everything we are and able to feel pain, exhaustion and hurt feelings just like us. He was showing His faith in the Father.
     Are you puzzled by my assertion that forgiveness is in the divine realm and requires faith in God? Why ? Faith is the vessel you carry your blessings in and one of the true blessings of any overcomer in this world is being able to forgive totally and wholeheartedly. Forgiveness is taking power over a situation and turning it around. Forgiveness helps you move on and even frees you of further obligation where none is due.
     I can already hear you say, "But what if they don't apologize or make amends? How can I sustain forgiveness toward a person who has no remorse or is simply unapologetic ?!"
     You are in command of your physical and emotional life and you can do anything if you are strong enough, mentally and physically, to do so. No one can actually make you do something you do not want to do. So if you knew that forgiving someone would help you take charge of your emotional life and dignify your choice to simply forgive why not do so? It won't take away your rights if you forgive but it does release you from obligation to respond in kind. It can only empower you because you rise above the situation or overcome and, in so doing, take your powers back. It is worth that, isn't it?
     If you think you cannot forgive someone then try to imagine the process of our salvation which Jesus went through every step to achieve. He didn't get to skip anything. We have been riding the crest of a wave for centuries since his crucifixion. He achieved more than we can ever imagine by this act and was able to do it in human flesh. In order to truly forgive you have to imagine Jesus' walk on the Via Dolorosa and on up to Calvary. As you follow him remember that you are not alone even though you are helping him carry that cross. Let it be, let it go and then let God take over. It is that simple and freeing.
The Castle Lady
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1