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Archive for November 22nd, 2018

A few days ago, I wrote:

“Perhaps our offerings of forgiveness
do not need to be felt to do do their good work.
Perhaps they are, quite simply, an investment in the future…our future.”
(Forgiveness 101a)

As I continue my pursuit in A Lesson in Forgiveness, things get more … uncomfortable.

I think most of us dislike confrontation. We can change subjects, diverting conversations and people’s movements to avoid the churning in the pit of our stomach that a potential confrontation can birth.

So, how does this relate to forgiveness?

When we offer forgiveness, whether with our just our will to invest in our own well being, or to absolve another of guilt, we need to express our pardon to the one we are forgiving.

Why?

I mean, if forgiving someone is primarily for the benefit of the one doing the forgiving, does it really matter to communicate that forgiveness? Especially if the one you are forgiving doesn’t acknowledge that there was anything to forgive?

Short answer … yes.

lament

Again, the reason is, primarily, for the one offering forgiveness.

To name what we are forgiving,
is to speak to where we were hurt

This is similar to when when one is in an automobile accident, and the emergency responders ask, where does it hurt? Treatment for pain can not take place effectively until the source of pain is located. Sometimes, just speaking the truth of the pain can be healing in itself. To name what is being forgiven, perhaps even explaining what effect it has had, is to no longer allow negative power to have control of our lives.

To name what we are forgiving,
is to accept accountability

If with our words, we say that we forgive, we have opened the door to be held accountable to actually live that way. This means that we are obligated to ensure we do not allow our hurt, anger or bitterness to resurface. In sharing our intent, we close the door on this painful past … and lock it up tight.

To name what we are forgiving,
is to provide opportunity for 
reconciliation

Reconciliation is not the goal of forgiveness, but forgiveness can be the impetus to move in that direction. To say what you are forgiving is to give a victim impact statement … sharing how far the ripples created by another’s actions or words have spread. Perhaps the one who is being forgiven had no idea of the effect they had on another. By making the first move, a door may be opened to mutual healing and possibly even restoration of the broken relationship.

Speaking of our pain is like the Biblical practise of lament.

What this naming or lamenting does is it strips the heart of pretence … it enables us to be bare, real before our offender, before our God, no longer covering our festering wounds, but allowing air and light to start the process of healing.

To name what we are forgiving, to the one we are forgiving, is still an investment in our future … going forward no longer looking back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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