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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Friend We Need When Forgiveness Is Foreign

NATURAL to our instincts… forgiveness certainly is not. In a recent survey of over five-thousand, more people said it was easier to hold a grudge than forgive. That speaks to much of our experience.
None of us finds forgiveness easy for the pure fact that the stakes are irretrievably high.
Wherever there’s the challenge to forgive there’s loss.
Grieving loss is about reconciliation.
Forgiveness gets us along the way to reconciliation, and faith is the friend we need.
So, faith helps us forgive, forgiveness helps reconciliation, which helps us grieve loss.
Losses take us into a foreign land far from the central knowledge we have of ourselves. Loss affects us at the level of our core values. None of us expects 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 distally out atop the choppy wash far from the shore which is safe land.
To forgive is to lose. But we cannot win unless we forgive. Wisdom decrees we must endure loss to experience victory.
Loss is that place of no return where a new normal we never wanted to begin with 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.
Forgiveness, it has to be said, is interminably hard.
It’s a miracle to actually achieve forgiveness; an outcome of God’s grace bestowed. But, when it’s achieved, forgiveness is a vital command post for reconciliation. We have an important vantage point for reconciling our inner discord, then the relationship, and for forging a new way of life.
Reconciliation starts when we have forgiven.
And faith is no substitute as a friend who helps when forgiveness is foreign.
Faith is no generalised concept. It’s a real action-oriented vestibule of hope and love. Faith blends hope for a better future with love that compels a present 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.
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 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 can no easier explain than simply experience.
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.
Faith is the friend we need when forgiveness is foreign.
Faith will get us to forgive when every other ‘friend’ makes forgiveness foreign.

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