Saturday, September 5, 2009

In a matter of days, our Nation marks an ugly anniversary – one that has forever changed our lives. Too, I think most folks were freshly outraged upon hearing the news that Scotland released the Lockerbie bomber on “compassionate grounds.”

The Lord’s Prayer asks Him to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” Whew! How can we possibly forgive those perpetrators for their heinous acts?

Well, one essayist has dared to address this difficult dilemma in an on-line issue of St. Anthony Messenger Magazine. In part, he has written .....

Our first reaction to the question of forgiveness is probably refusal. Forgiving them would seem to be disloyal to those who died on that day; it might say that their deaths were not important, or that we need not remember their suffering and violent demise. But on the other hand, we know that forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. So what are we to do?

First of all, it is God who forgives sin and wrongdoing. Only God has sufficient perspective to grasp the extent of damage that sin and wrongdoing create in our lives and in the lives of those against whom we sin.

Forgiveness is something that comes from God – it is a gift of God to us. If we listen closely to Jesus’ words, we will discover that, in Luke’s gospel, Jesus’ first words on the cross are about forgiveness. “Father, forgive them they know not what they do.” We often read this as Jesus forgiving his executioners. But in actual fact, Jesus is calling on God, his Father, to forgive them. Jesus is still in the midst of his suffering. He cannot forgive his executioners for something they have not yet completed. But he can call on his Father to forgive.

This act of Jesus can be a great source of comfort to us when we struggle to forgive but cannot. We can call upon God, who sees all things, to forgive. And that is a prayer that we, too, someday may be able to forgive. The advice to “forgive and forget” means that we should not hold on to resentment after we have forgiven someone. Do we have to forget when we forgive?

Actually, we neither have to, nor should. That injunction is nowhere in the Bible. Our repulsion at forgetting is a correct human reaction. Forgetting would diminish our humanity and trivialize the suffering of those days.

The issue is not forgetting, but rather, how we remember. Put another way. When we forgive, we do not forget – we remember in a different way. Forgiveness means that the wrongful deed of the past no longer controls our lives. By remembering in a different way, we do not forget what happened, but it is no longer allowed to poison the present and the future.


But even to achieve that, we will need God’s help.


15 comments:

  1. Excellent. This is powerful. Thanks for posting. ...I didn't know about the little place where you got your chili dogs in Abilene. Even if I had, I probably wouldn't have been able to enjoy many of them. I was working my way through school and ate most of my meals in ACC's "Bean" as we called it. The few times I could find a few extra "pennies" some of us went for a large dish of beans and flour tortillas at a Mexican restaurant.

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  2. It's not easy to forgive. But doing so, the unforgiving one is actually the one being hurt more...I had problem with that before but as the Lord had shown me many times it would do me no good, what a relief to hand the hurt over to Him and be able to forgive the one who hurt me so bad. That person is the same, but this time, I'm not reliving the nightmares she caused. I'm healthier and the most important thing, that's what pleases Him. Blessings to you.

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  3. Wonderful words. Forgiveness is the key.

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  4. I love the insight you have shown on this subject. Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest things people have to do. It becomes so much easier though when we remember how much God has forgiven us for.
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  5. Hi Myra,
    An excellent and timely post! We must forgive in order to move on and get well. God has given us the grace to do so if we allow Him to. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  6. We are so blessed because of God grace! This is a wonderful post thank-you so much for sharing your thoughts today.
    God Bless,
    Ginger

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  7. That is a wonderful post and gives me much to think about. Sometimes we must just trust God and know that the man that was released will be punished if he is guilty. It is very hard to forgive but I also believe it is necessary. Hate is so powerful, I don't want it to control me.

    God bless you Anne

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  8. Whenever I pray for forgiveness, God shows me the other side of the situation and lessens the burden of my own perspective. God's grace is amazing and learning to forgive is the greatest gift we can experience.

    Karen

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  9. We are commanded to forgive if we are to receive forgiveness.
    Susan

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  10. This helps tremendously and lessens the guilt when I struggle with the process of forgiveness. I heard once that "forgiveness is a gift. Father God gave it to us so that we can give it to others." I know forgiveness sets the captives free and who wants to be under this kind of captivity?

    Thank you for your hugs and prayers for my battle. I continue to storm the heavens for the perpetrator; don't want him "left behind." Healing is coming to my family!

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  11. I would say...I would need to think more about this ;-). However I think one of the things that enables forgiveness is the knowledge that God is just and justice will happen in the age to come. Romans 2:5 talks about "storing up wrath for our-self on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed..." and as Romans 12:19-21 says we don't avenge ourselves but we leave wrath to God....so we leave wrath in God's hands and thus we can lay down our lives for our enemies, and do good and pray for them. Those who are already dead (like the 911 attackers) I leave in God's hands.

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  12. you are right it not that we forget it is how we remember...awesome post!

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Thanks so much for dropping by! Your words are like hugs from afar.... and who doesn't love a hug!