December 8, 2015

some thoughts on forgiveness

The other day I was part of a hard conversation, several people were talking about this tragic event that took place recently wherein a pregnant woman was raped by 3 men and then shot in her own home while her infant child slept in the house. Her husband came home shortly thereafter and realized he had left the door unlocked when he went for his early morning workout. There is more heartache here than I can even wrap my mind around but the topic of the conversation quickly turned to that of forgiveness. Apparently the deceased woman's husband is a pastor and was on a news program preaching forgiveness and how he knew that is what he needed to do. Someone in the conversation made mention at how ridiculous that notion even was...and I think it wasn't so much that he didn't think it was the "right" thing to do inasmuch as an impossible and unrealistic task. We discussed how yes, it seems a lot of time would need to take place and God would really have to do some mighty work to allow forgiveness to happen, but it begged the question of how could that even be what is required? We all have a hard time forgiving those who have wronged us when murder of a loved one isn't involved (or maybe I should just speak for myself here? I have a hard time). Let me jump forward a bit, a month or so ago I found myself in a conversation discussing the existence of God with someone, we each have our own experiences we bring to the table that shape our thoughts and opinions as one would expect, but here's the deal, God has proven himself to me time and time again, I would be the idiot not to believe, but moreover, I choose to believe God exists because that is literally the only way the world and its brokenness makes sense to me. I believe that God will do what he says he will do and that in the end, he will make all things right. But here's also the "deal" -I want to believe. I want to live and raise my daughter believing that there is more to this hard, broken, earthly life where people can be raped and murdered and to know without a doubt, that isn't the end. Back to the topic of forgiveness, I think we can all agree that the widowed husband would fare better in life to forgive those men who took his wife, being bottled up with rage and anger will ultimately eat him alive, right? But to go through the process of real forgiveness seems like such a hard and daunting task...does it not? But here's the thing about Jesus, he asks us to do things that we don't want to do, that seem really unfair and hard, and where earthly justice doesn't necessarily get served - isn't that just so ughhhhhhhhh (insert cringy crying face) for lack of a better word. That when someone hits you we're supposed to turn the other cheek? That if someone asks for us to walk a mile were to go two? Isn't it just like Jesus to ask for such an extravagant response that we can't.even.wrap.our.minds.around.it.? And really, any one who has forgiven the unforgiveable, aren't they the ones who turn out blessed, who have the amazing story of redemption and healing and freedom that only real forgiveness from Jesus can bring? The movie "Unbroken" (as hard as it is to watch, and sadly ends before the really good stuff happens -do some research on the real story, the forgiveness/redemption is beyond words), is such a neat picture of the torture that someone can endure but with whom Jesus can do a mighty work and bring about healing because he did the hard work and chose to forgive his persecutors. Isn't that the stuff that movies are made of (literally)? Only Jesus can do that. When people really don't think there are signs of a living God I'm almost at a loss for words, there are stories all around us of something extraordinary that can only be explained in miraculous ways -in Jesus ways. It reminds me of the quote "If you never listen you'll never hear the voice of God calling your name." Please here me here, I'm no expert at/on forgiveness, in true transparency (which really, is the only way I roll) I kinda suck at it, but I know its what I'm called to do and so I go after it. In my lifelong quest to be more like Jesus I work at forgiveness, sometimes it haunts me and I confess in several areas of my life I'm not there yet, but I'm thankful for a God who's paved the way and doesn't ask anything of me that He hasn't done himself. You see, Jesus can ask extravagant things of us, because He is extravagant in His love and sacrifice for us. Come Lord Jesus, come. xo

1 comment:

Robin said...

Incredible blog. Very true about forgiveness being hard but worth it. Where Scripture says to forgive as Christ has forgiven you....... which would mean completely. The good news is that "it is God who is at work within you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." He even helps us want to do it.