Sunday, February 03, 2019

On Forgiveness

We discussed the difficult verses about our forgiveness being tied to our forgiving at small group last week. I mentioned that I had heard once that this can be understood better by doing it rather than trying to reason it out.  I had some experience with that this week.  I sometimes hold grudges. I don't know if I do this more than other people, but I know that I do it.  I don't think of them day after day so much as never get rid of them, so they pop back in uninvited whenever a name or a situation comes up again.

When we do this, we think of it as normal. Of course, we remember and resent someone who was critical of us in a vulnerable time.  Wouldn't anyone?  Of course we remember and resent the people who helped ruin something we cared about.  Isn't that just natural?  But when we think of that as normal we smuggle in the idea that God must be that way, too.  We think He must remember and resent when we did something selfish or angry. If we consciously think that we reject the thought immediately, knowing that God is not really that way.  But I think that's just an intellectual exercise and we revert right back to our old thinking unless we have practice in what forgiveness is from doing it ourselves.  We only believe it about God when we have some inkling of it in ourselves.

Which means I personally am screwed, of course, but maybe my thought will be useful to others.


james said...

One more thing we have to keep practicing, or like James' man looking in the mirror, we forget.

Unfortunately some people seem to be eager to give me opportunity to practice forgiveness.

Jan Blickenstaff said...

Hi, imagine if you will, human interactions as the fingers of your two hands interlocking. That can be friendly--lightly interlaced. or cooperation -- more tightly laced. covenant -- very tightly interlocked. Emotionally interlocked either in love or in anger. The offense and the offended interlocked pushing and pulling with trading offenses in a loud argument. Forgiveness is my letting go (unlocking my fingers) of the drama of being offended and not repaying the offense. Forgiveness is about me and my willingness (my choice) to let go of the dynamic, the drama. Forgiveness does not effect the Other in the drama, maybe to the extent that I no longer counter offend. Forgiveness does not restore or reconcile. That is a different process. Forgiveness does not forget as the offender may re-offend and we should be wary of that, especially if violent. Forgiveness does give me time to consider, calm down, walk away, escape the dynamic.

Now imagine a triangle with you as one elbow, the Other person as the other elbow and the invisible third point somewhere about eyelevel. Your fingers can interlace in the daily drama of life. If offended you can release (forgive) the offender. Unlace the fingers and raise your hand to the upper third point (God) for wisdom, counsel, power. Letting God deal with the Other with out your involvement and letting God deal with you with out your attention on the offenses.

Does that make any sense? JP Blickenstaff