FORGIVENESS Musings On the Last day of 2015

SOkpor_2015_Portsmouth-5Everything’s so simple with kids. They’re all black and white in their dealings. There is no guile or malevolence. They have such an inculpable view of the world around them. You will always find simple answers to complex questions in their responses. Their logic hasn’t been tainted by betrayal or deceit. Perhaps thats why its so easy for them to forgive. One minute you see kids fighting over a toy and the next they are laughing over the mess on the floor. (they know YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO CLEAN IT). As I write this my little niece comes over and asks me what I’m doing and I tell her I’m trying to write about forgiveness and she says “Whats there to write? You just forgive and go on”. The sweet innocence of children. A child’s impression

Adults on the other hand? Well, we are all about shades of gray. Perhaps its the memories of disappointments and let-downs we carry with us. The feelings of shame. The hurt of betrayal, the resolve to never be embarrassed again. The survival instincts to protect what’s left of our sense of self-worth. I asked a couple of colleagues what actions they considered unforgivable. One said harm against his family, another said the duplicity of a boyfriend. When they spoke I could almost see the hurt look in their eyes or was that just fear. An adult’s expression.

At some point in life, our infantile impressions collide with the stark cold reality of life. The result most times are broken people needing to give and get forgiveness. The conundrum ensues as we try to reconcile what we hope to be true in our lives and what we fear to be the reality. We want genuine friendship but are afraid that we are will be abused. We want support but are anxious that we will be pushed. We want to be open and express our real impressions but are afraid that we will be ridiculed. It becomes a sort of lens with which all relationships are filtered by. In most cases the earlier or deeper your encounter with betrayal or hurt the more jaded your perception is and the more alien this concept of forgiveness becomes to that individual. What’s in it for you isn’t explicit. The benefits are always in the future-years sometimes even decades in the future.
It doesn’t help that a lot of times we get hurt or disappointed again and again and again. Why bother then? Why not live as a mock? Isolated in the crowd? Why not just give up? Its not like it’ll make any difference right?

WRONG!

You see, Forgiveness gives you some control in a sphere outside your circle of influence. Forgiveness says this was done but I AM now doing THIS.
When you hold back forgiveness you’re holding back the one thing you really have power over. i.e. HOW YOU CHOSE TO INVEST YOUR EMOTIONS. “When you refuse to forgive you are trapping your divinity inside your humanity”

TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO FORGIVE, DIVINE – Alexander Pope

I agree with Mr Pope because it really always takes something greater than ourselves to give our forgiveness to those that have wronged us. It feels like surrendering but then you feel so much more powerful later on being no longer held captive to that regrettable epoch. It makes you tap into that essence that is really one with the God of Heaven. When you listen to people tell it, they often use words like “I don’t know how I did it but I forgive…….” that’s because they really had help on an ethereal level

This one is birthed in a paradox. “ONLY FORGIVERS ARE FORGIVEN

Matt 6:14
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly father will forgive you. (NKJV)

At first glance this looks like a selfish reason for forgiving but think of it in this light. Forgiving others unlocks that room in our hearts that enables the Father to store more of His grace to forgive in us. It makes us more receptive to both our need for forgiveness and the need to give it. Yes that’ll work for the the half of us don’t feel we owe anybody any forgiveness. For the rest of us, the other side of the argument works as well i.e We better pray your half wants the heavenly father’s forgiveness or else we will never be forgiven.
Those that hold unto their forgiveness refusing to give it out often have the problem of BITTERNESS.

Bitterness isn’t what people do to you its what you do to yourself – Raleigh Washington.

Don’t get me wrong they are still victims its just that the perpetrator has changed from the person that wronged you to you yourself. There are many routes to bitterness but the highway with the most traffic is UNFORGIVENESS. Everyone knows someone that’s bitter.

Heb 12:15b
Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you (NLT)

Bitter people have a dark cloud over them, a sour disposition and a critical outlook on life. If you sit and listen to their story its probably a very unfortunate series of mishaps and injustices. They’ve probably endured more than their fair share. Take a good look at that person and realize that’s where we are all heading if we continue on our paths of unforgiveness. All the routes to bittnerness terminate at this dead-end. The present and future sacrificed on the altar of past hurts and injustices.

Beware of being so entangled with the past that it affects the present or future – Philip Munsey

LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE IN FORGIVENESS – Norman Cousins

So what do you do? Am I asking you to just forgive and forget? No. That’s not what forgiveness is about. Yeah contrary to popular belief. It’s choosing to NOT keep track. It’s choosing to stop rehashing. It’s refusing to PUNISH but allowing the righteous anger of God to do the punishing. It is the absence of BITTERNESS. It is a process.

GOD hasn’t abandoned you just because He hasn’t acted in a way that you expected Him to. – Danny Chambers.

1. FORGIVE GOD.
In the Movie “GOD IS NoT DEAD” (spoiler alert) there is a great scene when the antagonist finally realizes why he is the way he is. It’s because He’s angry at God for not intervening and saving his mother. A lot of us have to forgive God. Lets give Him the benefit of the doubt and assume He know what He’s doing. Until you can speak with Him and see from His side I’d wait till it’s your time. It’s not like He’s in our debt but it gives the reins of authority back to Him. It’s a type of acquiescence.

2. FORGIVE YOURSELF
It’s another year. Let go of all that baggage. Let go of the self loathing. It’s a great time to start over. Thats the wonderful thing about being alive. We can always start over. It doesn’t make sense to keep punishing yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and say it out loud. I FORGIVE YOU. Take a deep breath and walk away from all the mistakes. Walk away from your Egypt. That feeling of DISQUALIFICATION. That emotion that tells you are not good enough. Most of us haven’t forgiven ourselves, how can we then give what we don’t have.

Joshua 5:9

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the shame of your slavery in Egypt” (NLT)

3. RESET TO FACTORY DEFAULT
We have to find a way to go back to the factory settings. That child like innocence we talked about at the start. You have to make TRUST and FORGIVENESS your default mode. Sure there’s a risk that you’ll get hurt but at least you will live to the fullest and not under the awful cloak of suspicion. It’s hard for the poison of bitterness to find you here. What’s more you’ll attract less UNFORGIVENESS.

4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND ACT
Once you’ve almost drowned at the deep end of a pool. You have to champion the cause to keep others from drowning. You know the signs, you’ve been there before. Act on what you know, share your story. It reinforces your healing process. It reminds you of the depths you’ve clawed out of. It lets others know that as bad as things might be right now, there is HOPE for a better day tomorrow.

Hebrews 10:24
Let US THINK OF WAYS TO MOTIVATE ONE ANOTHER TO ACTS OF LOVE AND GOOD WORKS. (NLT)

THERE ARE MANY WAYS OF GOING FORWARD BUT ONLY ONE WAY OF STANDING STILL. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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