Friday, March 22, 2013

Lenten Reflections: Forgiveness

"Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” - Luke 23:34

Forgiveness. Not always easy. Not always fun. Not always accepted. 

Forgiveness sometimes sucks.

Forgiveness is not easy because forgiveness relinquishes control. To forgive, we have to let go and letting go doesn't come natural to us. We are obsessed with controlling ourselves, others and every situation that intersects our relationships with each other. 

"Trust in the Lord....."  Sure! As long as I get to keep control over every aspect of my life, no problem!

Forgiveness. Control. Power.     

"I refuse to forgive you!"..... Because if I do, she wins.   

"They don't deserve forgiveness because of what they did!"..... Because they need to suffer as well, and if I refuse to forgive them, they'll suffer too.

"How can I refuse him for what he did to me?"..... If I do, I'm weak. I'll feel weak. I'll be perceived as weak. 

Refusing to forgive gives us control, right? It gives us power. We feel strong. And we need that strength to carry us through the pain inflicted on us. 

"You hurt me, now I'm going to hurt you!"


When we refuse to forgive, it's as if we pour salt on our own wound and expecting it to hurt someone with no wound.

Who really suffers from our lack of forgiveness?

Him? Her? You? Me? Them? Us?

Refusing to forgive doesn't just effect the offender, but the offended as well. It effects those around us and those not even involved. Refusing to forgive effects the collective. The community. Unity is destroyed.

There can be no barriers in unity. There are no barriers in the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is forgiveness, not holding on to hurts and pain.

The Kingdom of God is unity, not division.

The Kingdom of God is release, not control.

The Kingdom of God is not conditional, but limitless.

As we make our way through Lent, one of the aspects that we focus on is forgiveness; not just the forgiveness that we freely and graciously receive from God, but forgiveness of others. We can't truly embrace Lent while refusing to forgive, and we can't embrace Lent without receiving it as well.

Lord, as You have forgiven us unconditionally, enable us to forgive others unconditionally. As we give forgiveness, help us to receive it as well. Help us to realize that refusing to forgive does not give us control, make us strong and put us above the offender. The pain is only multiplies and unity destroyed. Help us to build unity through unconditional forgiveness for one another. Amen       

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