the Art of Forgiveness
Introduction to Forgiveness
I suppose my passion to write about forgiveness comes from the culmination of a lifetime of struggling with it. I’ve been told many things about forgiveness, like…just do it. While that is a true statement, a little explanation on the subject would have been very helpful when I was 20 years old. Around the age of 50 someone finally explained the nuts and bolts of how God sees forgiveness. That started me on a journey of understanding that gave me a greater understanding of God’s love and care for me.
While scripture is clear about forgiving and how to be forgiven, there seems to be cultural nuances that have made forgiveness seem straight forward and easy. It’s like we’ve been given the abstract without the text.
Another reason I strongly believe we need to understand forgiveness is because it’s part of our every day lives. Not only do I need to be forgiven daily, I need to forgive daily. Others in my life need my forgiveness. In other words, forgiveness really is part of our walk with God the Divine.
There are faith traditions that understand that but there are also faith traditions that seem to gloss over daily forgiveness. It is part of our daily life and we need to embrace the blessing of forgiving and being forgiven.
The grief component connected to forgiveness is also part of the daily journey…a big part of the journey. From a psychological perspective, when we have been hurt and have not dealt with our grief, it will find another way into our everyday life’s. We need to deal with being hurt and hurting others because it becomes part of our subconscious thinking which never leaves us. We cannot ignore that it’s there.
A third reason forgiveness is important is because it’s grossly misunderstood. For the better part of my life I didn’t understand what happens in the heavenly realm when we forgive someone. Quite frankly, the act of forgiving another person shakes the heavens and unleashes eons of power from God. In the early part of my adult life I was led to believe that we must forgive because God commands it. While that may be part of the act of forgiving (I’d say a small part), there is a much greater reason for forgiving others.
It’s for because forgiveness is best for YOU.
There’s also another component that God has been showing me through scripture as I pray. As I’ve studied about forgiveness I thought about books I’ve read about the subject but I haven’t read anything about forgiveness in connection with reaping and sowing. From a full scriptural perspective, I think both need to be studied and understood because both are part and parcel in scripture. In my life, God has clearly dealt with forgiveness AND reaping what we sow.
We do reap what we have sown (Galatians 6:7). There’s no getting around that. As we move beyond the actually act of forgiveness, we must face the music of sowing and reaping if we are to find peace and contentment.
Finally, we will also deal with what happens when someone refuses to seek or accept forgiveness. The first time that happened to me as an adult, I was dumbfounded. I mean, how can a fellow believer refuse to forgive? What does it mean to us when a fellow believer refuses to accept our forgiveness? What happens when we have been wronged and the person asks God for forgiveness but doesn’t ask us for forgiveness?
Those situations can disrupt our peace if we don’t know how to move forward (and there is a way to move forward).
I can tell you peace is one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given. We need to fight using every tool in our arsenal to have and keep daily peace.
That’s why forgiveness matters. Forgiving and being forgiven brings us God’s peace.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Forgive
Is there someone you are having trouble forgiving? Tell God, I forgive ____. You do not need to feel like forgiving them. The act of saying to God, I forgive them is all you need to do. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s a choice.
In God, Deborah