Sunday, December 8, 2013

The work of forgiveness 13

Here we are, still in step 5 of the forgiveness process I have been using.

Usually, once I've written down my reflections and considered them, I realize I now am feeling differently about the person I need to forgive. I may empathize with their situation, if not their actions. I may better understand their limitations, for in going through the forgiveness process I have also run across and considered some of my own. I often begin to feel a sense of sorrow and sadness towards the person and how they live. Not so much a sense of pity, but instead a sense of understanding that they live with their burdens (acknowledged or unacknowledged) just as I live with my own.

Because I took the time to complete steps 1-3, I can rest in knowing the actions that were committed, as well as the consequences of the actions, have been noted and considered, not swept under the rug or "cheap grace-d" away as if they never happened. I can also rest knowing these actions, and the person responsible, have been committed to God.

And so I find in this step I actually begin praying for the person, rather than at the person. There is still a sense of hoping and asking that the person may someday realize what they did and that reconciliation may be possible. But it is no longer out of a sense of me wanting to "give them the what for" or "having my day in court" with them, or making sure they know how much they have hurt me or others.

It is more in a sense of wanting the very best for them, for them to come to healing, just as I am coming to healing. For them to experience Christ more fully, just as I am. For them to be freed from unhealthy ways of thinking, feeling and acting, just as God is doing with me. And for these things to happen for them whether or not we ever reconcile, and whether or not I will actually be a part of their lives from here on out.

These are the things, I am learning, that start to happen as I move closer to forgiveness. I think they are part of what forgiveness looks like. But when can we say the person actually has been forgiven? I will explore that in the next post.

No comments: