Forgiveness Is A Choice   Leave a comment

A speaker at church yesterday has me thinking about forgiveness.

Some things are impossible for humans to forgive. The speaker’s 17-year-old sister had been kidnapped and murdered. Sexual abuse of small children. The Nickel Mines Amish School shooting. Some people’s childhoods.

I don’t share a lot of personal information here because Fairbanks is a small town and I like a degree of anonymity. Suffice it to say that my family and my life have not been perfect. Struggle is part of the human existence and with struggle comes the need for forgiveness.

Even when forgiveness is impossible.

So, how do you do that?

You don’t. You let God do it. Forgiveness is a choice and for some things, it is a choice you must repeat every day or several times a day. Christians find it no easier to forgive as human beings than non-Christians do, it’s just that we have a capacity to transfer that forgiveness to God and let Him do what we cannot.

Why do it at all?

Forgiveness is not for the benefit of the one who hurt us. It’s for our benefit. By letting go of the anger that would continually arise, we free ourselves to enjoy other aspects of our lives, aspects that are robbed of joy when we hold onto anger in a vain attempt to exact justice.

In the book “Amish Grace” the writers tried to quantify the forgiveness the Amish community of Nickel Mines claimed. One interesting aspect of Amish forgiveness that I found useful was that they never bring up a forgiven sin after it’s been repented. Yes, I know, there are a whole lot of sinners out there who never really repent, but it’s also my experience that even people when do repent, we still want to bring it up, twist the knife a little deeper, make sure they still feel repentant and if they protest, if they become weary under our unforgiveness, we say they never repented.

What a vicious cycle and one that can never be won!

Forgiveness is a choice. It can be made in the absence of repentance or when repentance is not full. And it frees us from the shackles of hate and retribution, regardless of its effect on those who have hurt us. And when we reach deep down inside of ourselves and find that we are unable to forgive, we can still give it to God and keep giving it to God every time it comes to our minds so that, eventually, we can move on with our lives and leave the dead things of the past in the grave where they belong.

Posted February 3, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Faith

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