Living in on-going forgiveness is surely one of the signs of love.
Not just forgiving someone we love for a hurtful act or a negligent season, but an attitude of openness to forgiveness.
Harboring unforgiveness can eat away at the fiber of our souls and sometimes lurks behind some pretty weird disguises.
I can only speak for myself here, but I have found unforgiveness buried deep down under what I thought was a healed place in me.
I thought I had forgiven and moved on only to realize when I see that person or have something trigger the memory, there I am recounting the whole sordid event as if it just happened fresh yesterday.
The wound is reopened and only then do I see the infection of unforgiveness still festering there deep below the surface.
And it’s almost always because the offending party in that instance never really took ownership of the infraction.
It usually involves me working to forgive whilst the other person or people skated along rather unaffected into horizons of their own making.
I (or even worse case “we”) were left fractured and bloody to try and pick up the shattered pieces of our hearts and move on.
So how do we do this forgiveness thing when there is no closure?
We look to the Author and Perfecter of faith – Jesus Christ.
Plain and simple.
He is always our example of how to love like God.
Bloody and torn, humiliated and ridiculed, spit on and beaten: He hung on a Roman cross while soldiers rolled dice to divide His meager clothing and spectators jeered.
And He looked out over this mess of humanity that we are…in our ignorant arrogance and attempts to be cool and in the in-crowd and funny…and He said…
Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. Luke 23:34
I would imagine the few women and His friend John who had maintained the courage to stay and suffer with Him, had to mutter under their breaths…it sure looks to us like they know what they are doing.
And I would say many times I have viewed acts of injustice as being committed with full knowledge, but Jesus knew what I need to remember all the time.
We don’t know what we are doing.
They didn’t know the full repercussions of what they were doing.
None of us can fully know the cost of the damage we do to each other and so love demands that we extend forgiveness rather than demand revenge.
No one walking on this sod can fully comprehend the rich love and grace and mercy and glory of God.
So He asked for forgiveness for the poor slobs of humanity who were so blind and deceived that they didn’t realize they had just crucified God.
He is and always will be our example.
So yes I, a foolish and sinful woman, can muster up forgiveness for my fellow humans; who like me, daily miss the mark.
“Give them obvious signs of love — such as mercy, forgiveness, patience, generosity of heart, acceptance, and encouragement…” page 36; Stormie Omartian, Power of a Praying Grandparent. Harvest House Publishers, 2016.