Is It Possible to Forgive?

When someone has slapped you down repeatedly, even when you didn’t realize, for years, you were being denigrated, how do you forgive?  The only way is to recognize how God has forgiven us. Each of us creatures have a sprinkling of human characteristics which are less than righteous such as tempers, sassiness, unpure thoughts, desire for retaliation, selfishness, egotism, among others.  These peculiarities keep us from achieving forgiveness of others which would ultimately bring freedom to ourselves.

When we say the heady, “If so-and-so can go to law school, then I can too!” it is not the same as saying, “If God can forgive a terrible sinner, then I can too.”  We are NOT God.  But, if we are Christians, the Spirit of God does dwell within us, and we are capable of far more than we can imagine.  God does command us to forgive 70 times 7, which is usually interpreted as meaning endlessly.  It goes along with the turn-the-other-cheek philosophy also taught in scripture (Matt. 5:39).   We don’t need to punish the offending person as God has promised, “Vengeance is mine.  I will repay, saith the Lord.”  Christ followers are forgiven, so forgiven people should be forgiving people.

I was disappointed and hurt by a relative until we realized she had Alzheimer’s.  It was very easy to forgive then and to just love her.  Pity is a part of the emotional side of forgiveness.  It also is easy, though painful, to forgive when you watch someone fall into sin and see their character sucked out of them until they become a sham of their former self.  Grace is behavioral from the spiritual side of forgiveness.  Grace sneaks in as a gift and is incomprehensible to us until we come to recognize the grace of God in our own lives.  Grace permeates our soul and gradually teaches us how to react.

Do you have a forgiveness story?

Bibliography:

Research on the Science of Forgiveness: An Annotated Bibliography

 

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About 9awalsh

A genealogist and writer who has uncovered legacy stories which must be told. I also write a blog, Deciphering Life, trying to figure out why life becomes so tangled -- www.9awalsh.wordpress.com
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5 Responses to Is It Possible to Forgive?

  1. Kinga Faulkner says:

    Forgiveness is all fine and good but don’t let it lull you into inaction. Remember that “God helps those who help themselves”. So forgive but fight strong for your own rights and protection because don’t forget that the hypocrites on the other side are fighting for only themselves!!

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    • 9awalsh says:

      Thanks, Kinga! However, that phrase is not Biblical. Isaiah 25:4 declares, “For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” This and other references indicate God helps those who trust in Him. That doesn’t mean I sit back and let things fall as they may, but I trust God for His guidance.

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  2. Kinga Faulkner says:

    Here is another quote and this one is from the bible “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

    Once someone has shown himself to be untrustworthy, you do not continue to give him your trust. Forgiveness is one thing and trust another.

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