ALL our lives we search for the secret, the meaning, heaven on earth, nirvana. And do we find it? No, we never do. This is because we never challenge ourselves to break past our comfortable thinking zones.
We never think why Jesus was always seeking to connect our understanding to the connected themes of forgiveness and the abundant life, i.e. forgiveness leads to an abundant life; abundant living is contingent on forgiveness.
The fact is we cannot hope to experience His abundant life while we harbour bitterness of any sort or size in our heart.
There is a direct correlation between hatred of another person and hatred within our person.
If we have anything against anyone we bear fear that no human was designed to bear.
God made us in His image to love and be loved. Any departure from that brings disconnection and alienation. We were designed from the beginning to experience a constant state of healing. Now, because of sin, we have to enter such a space of healing through intention, because God loved us so much to give us free will. We need to want it. Because of sin it is no longer automatic to think, say and do things that are blessed. But not many choose healing by intention, and those who do are challenged to do it consistently — which can only be learned through the discipleship of following Jesus by bearing our cross as He beared His; that occurs over the refining years.
Now is the opportunity to connect our will with the Divine will, for God’s glory. This is to begin to see that our healing is utterly dependent on others’ healing — that, as they heal through the agency of our forgiveness, we heal. And the foretaste of such healing is the experience that we’re no longer threatened by others and can therefore never be a threat to anyone. (I speak in terms of having attained this, as illustrative, so we know the reward we’re striving for.)
The key to making this work, more and more, as we grow into it, is to encounter others as individuals glorious in God’s making and sight. That, because of Jesus, God has maximum pleasure in them as they are. The invitation is to swap our limited sight of heart for the sight of heart God has for the person we’re encountering. We imagine this other person, whether we like them or not, and especially if we dislike them, inviting us into themselves through the question, do you see what I see? to see not so much into their world, but from their world; from their eyes, ears, mind, and heart.
The moment we’re grateful for the person who has wronged us is the moment our heart is being transformed by forgiveness. We cannot do this without God doing something majestically graceful in us. Remember what is impossible for humans is possible for God.
If we see how others see we begin to understand the world how they understand it. Then it is no large leap to forgive them. And as we continue relating with this person, God continues opening our heart to how they experience the world. Then, suddenly, there is connection, our fear fades, and the abundant life approaches and comes into the realm of our experience. All because we were no longer estranged to God in them.
A fundamental Jesus reality: we cannot heal without others healing; we do not understand unless we seek to understand as they understand. His abundant life is intrinsically linked to our forgiving others.
What compels us to forgive? We get sick of the pain of bitterness and missing out on Jesus’ abundant life.