Summary of a few thoughts on forgiveness

Forgiveness – to forgive is a freedom and privilege. How thankful we are to be forgiven, but how onerous a task it seems to be required to forgive. We think that the right to begrudge is ours, we own it with a fierce ownership. It seems that the requirement, even at the exchange of forgiveness of our own trespass, is a heavy price… a sacrifice of a right to our individuality and sacredness of person. It seems to enslave us to those who would abuse us and destroy very important and cherished parts of ourselves or our lives.

But when Jesus called on us to forgive… fully and freely, within His example and enabled by His grace… He called us further into the freedom that is life in the Spirit. Not everyone is able to forgive this way, but the Christian is given great advantage if only willing to use it. Forgiveness frees the one hurt from the one harming, it gives wings to the soul to be able to be an expression of love. Begrudging resentment holds the soul in a prison of inability to love, of chains attached to heavy weights of insulted and injured memory of the past and all its message of ones worthlessness. Forgiveness, on the other hand, lifts the hurt one above the value assessments of the trespasser.

Forgiveness is by far the better advantage, and to the degree that one is enabled to forgive, one is better able to live free.To make decisions unhindered by the twisted bent of hate and injury. Unhinged from the cord of revenge and retribution that would snap back into the realm of those desiring our destruction in someway or another.

It also will free them. That is what we often fear: that the trespasser will get away with their wrongdoing, that the balance of life will somehow become unfairly weighed out in their favor while we pay their costs. But what shall we choose? that we all be free, or that we all be enslaved? Freedom thrives with the more who value its superior opportunity; and what is most desired in freeing even those who don’t deserve it is that they will come to understand and appreciate the responsibility of that. They can never do that when held under oppression of demanded repayment.

Christian ideas and requirements of forgiveness have problems when applied to nation states and trespass on the scale of large groups. Why? Because forgiveness is rendered individual by individual, it does not thus rout justice…the other leg upon which freedom stands. Forgiveness doesn’t work when it is given grudgingly under duress. I don’t even think it can be named forgiveness in that case. The transcendent effect of those given to forgiveness is to raise those affected to a place of greater freedom to become the society more privileged and able to nurture life.

Yet, on whatever scale, the effects are sure. If only I forgive my enemies and those who have hated and used me, then I fully experience the freeing from from the bonds of backward looking, nursed hurts. Free for the future, free to do good, free to love, free to be the fully realized potential that characterizes the nobility of the human soul.