Until we ‘get’ forgiveness, we will not truly get life.
For, when we get forgiveness — when we understand how and why we do it, by God’s grace — God puts life in proper perspective. Nothing is important enough to be resentful for — not in truth; not with the backdrop of eternity in mind.
There may not be a more important message for us regarding the relational life.
None of us can escape this life, where we must interact with others and risk being hurt, as well as being the source of hurt. If we would escape, living as hermits, we would hardly be living life, and we may find ourselves disposed to other problems because of our isolation. We were made to connect with people.
Contentment within life, so far as relationships are concerned, is not only achievable, but it’s what we need to strive for — as we surrender to God our allegiances to resentment. And we all experience that climbing strain of the angry, though fearful, emotion.
Entering Relational Freedom
As soon as we understand that fear within relationships is incompatible with relational goals we can begin to believe that all our relationships can exist without such fear. Even for those people who may torment us there is the possibility of forgiveness, such that we might experience relational freedom; to not be bound in fear.
Entering relational freedom is really entering a place devoid of fear.
There is one thing we must do to enter this place. We must surrender our resentment; our ‘control’ over the situation (because we have little control anyway); and our desire for recognition, respect, or reward. The moment we can give these things up in order to advance the relationship in any way is the moment we can experience grace enough to forgive.
Entering relational freedom is the life God has always sought to give us, freely.
This life, the abundant life, is about living in harmony with all people, recognising that each person has their restraints of personality to deal with; each person struggles as we do, albeit in different ways.
More important than our individual and collective struggles, however, is the common need. We all need to be loved and accepted. To be hated and rejected is fuel for resentment. It never does us any good; or the other person.
But as we rise up above this fear-enshrouded resentment, we earn ourselves a reprieve from resentment, and forgiveness is augmented. We understand that we win when everybody else wins; and that’s our objective. The true life is lived by that objective. Then we know a reality where fear melts away, because it’s unimportant. Then we know true blessing.
There is no sense to life without forgiveness. To forgive is to love with sacrificial abandon. When we act with the authentic intent of love, the keys to forgiveness are ours.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.