The commitment to forgive; once and for all.
This eight-worded statement is about the biggest challenge any human being could set themselves. In a world of relationships and transgressions we hurt and are hurt. On a daily basis, within our families, in our workplaces, on the roads, and anywhere we are conscious and interact with other people, we are instinctively tempted to react.
Within the total realm of conflict the highest test is forgiveness.
And it’s one thing to pass with a 50 percent grade—to eventually forgive. It’s entirely another thing to receive a High Distinction in forgiveness by determining grace in the moment of the transgression. When we pass with such distinction the commitment to forgive, once and for all, has found daily operant traction.
Is There Anything More Important in Relationships?
We are destined for misunderstanding. We are on a collision course for conflict. We have the habit of being selfish in our relationships with others. We will fail time and again. We say stupid things. And we don’t mean everything we say; but we say it anyway. In a world where our word is our bond and our deed there is no catering for the psychological frailties of human communication. We expect others to be perfect, yet we cannot remember the last time we were.
Forgiveness is the necessary reparation for these and many more.
The art of forgiveness is extending copious portions of faith-enfolded grace. When we separate the issue from the person we find we can forgive and we have the freedom to disagree. What they say and how they say it we resolve to forgive. They cannot know how it hurts us. Yet if they do know, we can feel sorry for them—that they are consumed by hate. Is there a worse curse?
Of course, there are very real and practical issues in forgiving people and trusting them again, even if that trust simply means looking them in the eye without issue.
Forgiveness must start from us. When we make the resolve, our daily commitment to forgive, we execute a fundamental relational faith-task. We don’t know how it will go. To forgive is to risk. It may very well backfire. But we know, eventually, in our obedience to God’s command, our risk to forgive will pay off.
Forgiveness must be a daily recommitment if it is to work at all. And because forgiveness pivots at the centre of our Gospel there is nothing more important than to forgive. Instantaneous forgiveness is the grandest of all loves.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.