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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Faith, the Friend We Need When Forgiveness Is Foreign

NATURAL to our instincts… forgiveness certainly is not. None of us find forgiveness easy for the pure fact that the stakes are irretrievably high when it comes to loss.
Forgiveness Facilitates Reconciliation
In all our losses there’s a thread of forgiveness, which is reconciliation, to wrestle with — forgiveness, the process; reconciliation, the hoped-for outcome. Whenever we’ve lost an element of our lives, holistically, we rally against that loss initially; we have to. We have no choice. Loss seems so irreconcilable. Reality is all too big.
But forgiveness gets us along the way to reconciliation. Faith is the friend we need.
Losses are changeworthy. They take us into a foreign land far from the crucial knowledge we have of ourselves. Loss affects us at the level of our core values. None of us expect life to be so harsh as to land us in a place of no return. Our core values involve the assumption that we’ll always be safe. And loss takes us far out into the choppy seas far from the shore which is safe land.
Loss is that place of no return where a new normal must be engineered and procured.
So, if we accept that forgiveness is an inherent part of reconciling loss — and there are possibly many threads to reconcile — and we accept that forgiveness is foreign — we have a head start in at least acknowledging how hard things actually are.
It’s a miracle to actually achieve forgiveness. But, when it’s achieved, we have a vital command post for reconciliation. We have an important vantage point for reconciling our inner discord, a relationship, and for forging a new way of life.
Reconciliation starts when we have forgiven.
Where Faith’s No Substitute
Faith is no generalised concept. It’s a very real action-oriented vestibule of hope and love. Faith blends the hope for a better present and future with the love that compels action.
When life’s hard and seemingly impossible at times, for the gravity of loss is starker than we ever thought pain could be, faith is the risk we have to take. Faith generates hope, but faith also sows in hope. And hope fuels faith. Love is an output of faith.
Choosing the Right Days
We take such a risk of faith only on a stronger day.
A weaker day in loss makes grief insurmountable. Days like this we’re gentle with ourselves.
But stronger days are days to advance the vision for what could be — a future we might hope for, but probably cannot yet see.
Wisdom is in picking the right day.
Knowing forgiveness is hard helps us not to force the pace beyond God’s will. God will heal us, but forgiveness is a process, and sometimes it can take years. We learn to praise God when forgiveness comes easier, which is always a miracle of God’s grace; a thing we cannot easily explain away.
Safety in forgiveness is not fighting our feelings, but being gently inquisitive of our struggles, whilst being willing to push ahead when it comes easier.
What a wonderful thing to be inspired to forgive. We need to make the most of those God-indwelled moments. Suddenly there’s the moment of humility to call things for what they are; those things we can take some direct responsibility for. Taking responsibility is receiving blessing.
Forgiveness is foreign to our nature, but when we adopt God’s nature forgiveness becomes natural and healing.
Progress is about reconciliation, as forgiveness, which requires humility, which is honesty; a key to progress.
Faith is the friend we need when forgiveness is foreign.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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