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Friday, July 26, 2013

When Forgiveness Is Foreign

“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”
— OPRAH WINFREY
Experiences define us – we know that’s right,
We react and respond – freeze, flight or fight,
Whether it’s betrayal or hardship or being stirred,
Best we get to thankfulness for all that’s occurred.
***
Forgiveness is an elusive concept. Some tend to get it easily, having been gifted the sense for compassion – they are peacemakers by personality. Others are the opposite. They are competitive by character. It’s not a case of right or wrong when it comes to personality and character – as if the peacemaker pleases God inherently and the competitor doesn’t. God has made us differently for a reason. The peacemaker may be blessed by a mode of forgiveness more than the competitor, but they cannot achieve some things that the competitor finds easy. Sometimes we need a competitive mindset, but it doesn’t help in terms of forgiveness.
What the competitor can learn from the peacemaker, so far as forgiveness is concerned, is that in some things there is no such thing as a competition.
When we can foresee that God has designed life as a series of experiences – that are not to be judged in order to be found wanting – we start to see life from an end of life perspective. Imagine being in eternity and looking back over our lives, noticing true importance over the facts of our lives that weren’t as important as we thought they were.
Experiences will no doubt involve us had an emotional level, but the intent of experiences is to teach us about life – experiences are not intended to be judged. There will be ecstasy and there will be pain, and all manner of experience between.
Something that sweeps all concept of competition away, so far as forgiveness and relationships are concerned, is if we can be thankful for what happened, or even for something about what happened; we give ourselves space and room; so the perspective of grace might fill that space.
Forgiveness cannot be understood by the worldly person because they think there is no justice in it. But, of course, forgiveness is not truly about justice; it’s about reconciliation. And if we are not reconciled with the person we ought to forgive we can reconcile to ourselves as we forgive. We have the fuller sense of integrity about us when we can forgive, because we don’t have to try so hard to maintain a split personality.
***
Forgiveness is not truly about justice; it’s about reconciliation. If we are not reconciled with the person we ought to forgive we can reconcile to ourselves as we forgive. Integrity is abundantly better than resentment.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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