Praying for Forgiveness
As I look back over the discussions on forgiveness, I am struck by the amount of pain a victim must travel on the road to forgiveness. I am also deeply aware of the pain and complexity the perpetrator travels on the road to repentance. The harm we inflict on others also painfully warps our own souls. This is no easy road for anyone involved.
So often we tend to look at forgiveness on a global scale. But in reality, true and lasting forgiveness will not be achieved if we are not also doing the painful and difficult process of cultivating forgiveness in our own personal lives. I sit here, wondering aloud at what forgiveness looks like for the relationships in my life. It’s a hard one, isn’t it? It brings up some pretty intense pain; pain of not being loved as deserved, pain of not being valued, pain of being used, pain of being lied to, and lied about, pain of abandonment, pain of characterological attack. How do I, how do you, travel through that kind of pain towards forgiveness? How do I leave that kind of pain in God’s hands?
“Forgiveness is Struggle. Forgiveness is pain. Forgiveness is living with lack of resolution. Forgiveness is seeing redemption that should never exist. Forgiveness is [a fierce] hope of a better future.” I have a friend who read that statement and replied, “It sounds a lot like something else...Love.” When we begin to see the overwhelming love our God has for us, we also begin to be able to trust his good-will for us! The problem is some of us don’t have any real framework with which to attach our experiences of God’s love. Our other experiences with love have been so fractured and often times harmful, that God’s love is just as suspect as the love from those who’ve hurt us. So why would I, or you, leave such deep pain in the hands of someone who’d re-inflict it upon us?
Forgiveness is seeing redemption that should never exist. Forgiveness is a fierce hope of a better future. Dare for a moment to dream of a God who loves you as you should be loved. Dare for a moment to imagine a God who treasures you for every bit of who you are, who smiles at your blunders and gently holds your pain. Could that God be trusted with the harm inflicted upon you? Could that God be trusted to hold the pain inflicted upon me?
Lord, this business of leaving things in your hands is intensely painful. There are so many things that marred your image in me. I am angry, I am hurt, I am in pain; and, I also know that you hold all of this, gently, in your hands, smiling tenderly, as you walk with me. As I struggle, you hold the struggle. As I hurt, you hold the hurt. As I haltingly proceed forward, you hold me with joy and honor, also holding the things done to me. Thank you for the love and affection I still cannot comprehend.
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