At Church Week Three
So, my class continued this week.
We discussed forgiveness–how difficult, life-altering, and personal it is.
I began the class by sharing two recent instances where I had to forgive or my life would’ve taken for the much worse. We forgive not for the other person or to say its Ok. We forgive to heal our own hearts. Forgiveness is not easy, but if it was it wouldn’t as life transforming. forgiveness doesn’t always lead to healed relationship. Some people are not supposed to be in lives, but making peace with our past will lead to a better future.
I also spoke of Corrie Ten Boom who forgave her Nazi captor and Alexander Solzhenitsyn who looked back on his imprisonment in a Russian gulag as a blessing.
When we abandon what we want for what God wants and forgive others we want to punish than we are suffering for and with Christ, no longer is our ego in control, but God is. Never are we really in control, but sometimes we pretend that we are, sometimes we like to think we are. This is a lie. Yes, a lie; we delude ourselves to think that we control our life. Jesus is about shattering all false barriers that keep us from living an honest God centered life. Jesus shows us from the cross, from his suffering for all of creation what it looks suffering, redemptive love really looks like .
Forgiving others is releasing the false notion that we are special that people who treat us badly need to be punished for it. When someone does something wrong correction is needed, but to punish is to dwell on those actions, to be trapped by the past. We forgive others in gratitude for the forgiveness and grace offered to us by Jesus on the cross. Christians do not put themselves before others. Jesus on the cross, asked for forgiveness for those who put him there. He didn’t curse them. He forgave them. A key attribute of a Christian is forgiveness, because that is a key attribute of Jesus. When we center on Jesus rather than our own petty concerns and desires and we pray God’s will be done not ours and mean it that will produce a certain kind of suffering, but through this kind of suffering, we will transform into more Christ-like Christians.
God is more than fair. God is too good to be true, but the good news that Jesus proclaimed in every word he spoke and every action he is that God loves us. We don’t deserve God’s unconditional and limitless love and grace. We could never earn it, yet it is still ours free of charge. God loves us as we are no strings attached, but way too much to leave us that way.
Stephen King says that the two most beautiful words in any language is I forgive.
If I had any doubts about becoming a pastor this class has dispelled them. One day I will be able call myself pastor and use that title to help others and glorify God.
In the hymn You Are My King, we sing, “I’m forgiven because you were forsaken. I’m accepted; you were condemned. I’m alive and well, Your spirit is within me because You died and rose again.”