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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

How Time Heals

July 7, 2010 2 comments

Hi, my name is Ken, and I’m a recovering self-help junkie. 

Henri Nouwen again, from a daily email I receive…

“Time heals,” people often say. This is not true when it means that we will eventually forget the wounds inflicted on us and be able to live on as if nothing happened. That is not really healing; it is simply ignoring reality. But when the expression “time heals” means that faithfulness in a difficult relationship can lead us to a deeper understanding of the ways we have hurt each other, then there is much truth in it. “Time heals” implies not passively waiting but actively working with our pain and trusting in the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation.

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Starting With Forgiveness

February 9, 2009 5 comments

2245880137_b7dc95bcc6_oIn the world, forgiveness is the end of a process. In the church, it is the beginning of a process.  ~Dr. George Grant 

Investigators picking through the wreckage of broken homes more often than not conclude that an unwillingness to forgive is the usual suspect.  Like a smoke detector that “looks” like it is in perfect working order but is as broken as a shattered mirror, a forgiveness that is in working order means a great deal more than saying “I forgive you.” 

Genuine forgiveness means extending a mercy that is neither earned nor easy to give.  It means starving your ego and putting your pointed finger in your pocket.  It means rolling out the red carpet for a scoundrel instead of jerking it out from underneath of a dirty rotten nobody.  It means letting the guilty get off scot-free as far as it concerns you.  Forgiving anyone, especially someone close to you, can be quite excruciating actually, and even humiliating when you really forgive.  But the joy found in forgiving a guilty party far and above outweighs the embarrassment you might suffer in offering it.

If you have practiced any semblance of the kind of  forgiveness God extends to those who trust in his mercy, you know exactly what I am talking about!

When the imperative step of forgiveness is skipped when it is necessary, disaster is close around the next corner for any relationship.  Forgiveness is so vital that doctors have dedicated endless hours to the study of what effects it has on a person when they fail to forgive.  George Grant, who I quote above, walked a very treacherous stretch of road with me, a road I veered off a number of times.  At a time I couldn’t barely lift my head high enough to see above the rim of the emotional dumpster I felt trapped in, George was a constant voice for grace.  When all I felt like doing was cursing, George would remind me that, although not forgiving was an option, it was not an option if I was going to follow Jesus. 

At one point in the middle of a disastrous divorce that had me feeling as though a very possible option might be ending it all, George calmly told me, Ken, there is always the gospel.  You see, the message of the gospel is soaked in forgiveness if it is anything—a forgiveness from God towards us, and a forgiveness extended from us towards others.  Seeing that God has forgiven us for punishable crimes against his holiness, we have no right not to forgive our brother, our sister, our neighbor, our landlord—or even our sworn enemy.  No matter the offense, you and I have no claims on holding a grudge towards anyone.  Bitter pill to swallow I know—and do I know.    

God extends no clauses in scripture about any prerogatives on our part to harbor unforgiveness.  

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously (Jesus, Luke 6:27-30, The Message).

I think I will write in the coming days about the journey of forgiveness God has been taking me through.

See  Relationship Glue” over at Nullus Extra Cruem for more.

Whenever we refuse to forgive we can plan on a broken relationship every time.  The road to forgiveness inevitably begins with forgiveness.

lip service forgiveness

November 2, 2008 Leave a comment

lip service: an avowal of advocacy, adherence, or allegiance expressed in words but not backed by deeds…   -Websters    

Forgiveness means more than taking back a wayward spouse—it means not holding their offenses against them and choosing to relinquish your ability to trade hurt for hurt and on and on and on .  The reality is that you can divorce and forgive and you can stay married and not forgive—don’t let lip service fool you.  And don’t forget, you may have done them wrong too.  Staying married isn’t the sign of weakness our culture makes it out to be anyways.  It takes a strong person to get over such despicable behavior. 

Forgiveness means more than telling your friend who crosses you that you forgive them—it means resisting the temptation to remind them about the hurt they gave you over and over again.

Forgiveness means more than not murdering your child when they rebel against your rules—it means hugging them when they least deserve it and whispering you love them, and meaning it.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.  -Lewis B. Smedes

I find it easy to extend lip service forgiveness, but so tough when it comes to actually forgiving the one who has violated me.