Monday, December 2, 2013

The work of forgiveness 10

Step four in the forgiveness process I am using is a time for rest, for quiet contemplation, for waiting on the Lord.
4. Bring steps 1-3 before the Lord, resting in him to help me forgive and gain insight into the person and situation.
One reason you can rest calmly in this step is that you have worked hard and devoted time in steps 1-3 to consider the person and your expectations of them, list their behaviors that need to be forgiven, and explore why those behaviors require forgiveness. You have been honest about the person and honest with yourself.

Now you can lay all of this before the Lord in trust that he will know what to do with it, and help you to proceed to forgiveness.

I find it helpful to imagine all the things on the lists I have made are gathered together in a kind of satchel or backpack that I can carry to God and leave with him. Sometimes it is good to imagine you are leaving these things before God's throne or his altar. Or you could picture leaving them at the foot of the cross. Use whatever kind of image is helpful to you.

You have done the best you can at considering the issues, and you have now given them to God. What will he do with your concerns, your feelings of hurt, your anger, your sense of being wronged? What will he do with the person who has done the things that have hurt you and possibly others?

You can trust that because of his character, God will be just, righteous, faithful and merciful. This is a good time in which to contemplate God's holiness, his character, his call to us to forgive, what Jesus said about forgiveness, and Jesus' passion and death on the cross. Read portions of scripture on these subjects. Recall hymns on these themes. Spend time in prayer, being open to hearing God's voice.

It is fine to let this step take a while—several days or longer than that if it feels right and necessary. Here is where a lot of healing can happen for you.

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