I'd like to begin by stating just one word. But first, I'd like to ask you to take a deep breath...
Take a couple of seconds to just sit on the word a bit. Fascinating word isn't it? Just the word itself seems to conjure up emotion. No doubt, as you thought about that simple word, forgiveness, the faces of very specific people already invaded your thoughts. With them feelings of emotion - hurt, resentment, regret and love - find themselves held closely in tow.
Why is it that just one word can cut to the the very heart of our most vulnerable selves...and our most vulnerable of relationships? It is remarkable isn't it? Forgiveness is a word that finds itself at the very core of our most valued and often our most complicated of personal connections. It is a word that nests itself equally within the context of our most cherished of friends and our most challenging of antagonists.
As Websters defines it, forgiveness means "to grant relief from payment of." Forgiveness is always predicated on something that is owed. It begins with the problem of a debt that either someone owes you, or that you owe others. It's an injustice, an imbalancing of the scale, whether it be financial, emotional, personal, or any other.
And that's what makes the word forgiveness so complicated. That's why it becomes such a difficult word to implement. Forgiveness asks us to set aside an injustice, it asks us to belay being righted, to set aside the scale of justice. And yet, forgiveness is not an ignoring of justice, it is a reconciliation of justice. It is not the ignoring of a debt, or wrong. Instead, it is the purposeful reconciling of the books. It is the writing of a zero balance on the books of our emotion and hurt. Forgiveness is a gift of new beginnings.
This morning, consider those who are in need of your forgiveness, who may have wronged you, who may owe you something. It is likely that they do owe you something, that you have been wronged and an injustice has been committed. But to what end does your demanding serve? As Ghandi put it, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
There are more options than simply justice. Ours is the choice and the opportunity to invade someone's life with the unexpected gift of forgiveness.
Here's a link to the podcast for this post.