Saturday, January 18, 2014

The process of forgiveness 19

In my journeys of forgiveness, I've noticed over and over that I've been forgiving people who don't realize or acknowledge they did something that needs forgiveness. Previous posts in this forgiveness series have touched on this, and on how to forgive in this situation.

One thing that keeps rolling around in my head are Jesus' own words of forgiveness from the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Here Jesus is practicing what he had preached during his ministry about the importance of, and need to forgive others. And he is doing it in the most dire of circumstances.

Now, I am not going to equate what happens when we forgive people with Jesus' Great Forgiveness as he was dying to gain victory over sin and evil in the world. But I do think there is some relationship between our forgiveness and God's forgiveness.

There's a key, mystical link there, and Jesus didn't mince words about it during his ministry. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount, he said:
"If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matt. 6:14–15)
Jesus does not say, "forgive others when they ask you to forgive them" or "forgive them when they come to their senses and realize what they did wrong." He just says to forgive them, period, and that this has some link to how God will forgive us. It doesn't seem to matter what they do, or don't do, or what they believe, or think they did. We are just supposed to forgive them.

I have found that when I am able to go through my process and forgive, I feel more closely drawn to my relationship to the persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When I forgive those who are not asking for forgiveness (which is most of the people I've forgiven), I feel very distinctly that I am in tune with Christ, who forgave those who "know not what they do."

There must be something very important about this. It is something on which to meditate, and something definitely to practice, as Jesus taught us to do.

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