By: Joan Meyler
A few months ago, I had a revelation on my way to church. A profound revelation! The radio preacher talked of forgiveness. Okay, so I know I should forgive others, etc. At least I thought I did.
As he talked, I began to realize just how difficult it is to forgive. As a Christian, I am called to forgive others. To release them from the bondage I have created for them. Yes, I create bondage for others. Don’t you? I bind them to myself when I think I have set them free from the hurt and pain they have caused (Luke 6:27-28) yet I revisit the hurt/wrong as if it were an old friend. I have told myself that s/he is forgiven while wanting the person to feel the hurt I have held close. As I thought about this, I came to realize that I have also hurt that person; caused them pain and disappointment. “Surely, they are also called to forgive me”, I thought as I tried to justify my kind of “forgiveness”. Pondering the words of Jesus, I held the hope of forgiveness in my heart, in my pride and pain, as I hesitated to approach the wronged one. Yet I must. I must recognize my guilt.
Then came the recognition that my actions also caused me pain. I must first forgive myself. And there lies the challenge! For true forgiveness to occur, for me to truly bless the one that thoughtlessly used me, I must strip myself bear and examine my motives, my actions, my weaknesses. I must remove the beam from my eye, heal my self-inflected wound, (Matthew 7:5) I must first acknowledge the wrong I did, and accept forgiveness from myself. I must release the rope with which I bond that hurt, pain, disappointment to me and allow reconciliation to take place. (Colossians 1:22) Then and only then can I offer forgiveness to the one who wronged me and bring us both into the glorious presence of God where we receive His forgiveness and restoration.
I thank God for His patience as He reaches out to me (and you) with grace and mercy. May we allow Him to lead us into a deeper understanding of who and how he wants us to be.