This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Forgiveness 4

Maybe i want to forgive, but it's hard.  i know this is right, but i struggle with hard-heartedness about the situation.  i need to decide that i will forgive.  i need to pray and ask God to help me really forgive and harbor no bitterness and resentment.  i need to accept that if it's truly needed, God will do the "punishing" or "straightening" out of the other person for what they did, and He's perfectly capable of doing His own job. 

i need to consider that God feels about that person the very same way He feels about me.  He doesn't look down on them or think of them differently or cold shoulder them.  He is as warm and inviting and desirous of them as He is toward me. 

And maybe i need to spend time praying for that person.  Careful here! i'm automatically tempted to word that prayer in such a way to find another justification for my bitterness. "God, straighten so-n-so out.  Make him realize he's a jerk.  Make her realize she ought to come back to me groveling."  WRONG!  That's not the prayer i need at all.  i'm really just praying for me when i appear to be praying for that person.  That's just a good way to add hypocrisy to unforgiveness. 

No, i need to pray for that person.  Even say his/her name.  "God, bless so-n-so.  Comfort her.  Please keep his family safe.  Help her to succeed in her career.  Help him to have peace from all his worry and care.  Help him/her to feel encouraged and comforted by Your love and strength."  Now that's a prayer.

Maybe i'm still not convinced.  Maybe i'm so hardened against a person that i just don't care.  If that's where i am, God has something to say to me.  Plainly, if i don't forgive that person, God won't forgive me.  It's as simple as that.  He said so (Mark 11:25; Matt 6:15).  

So is it worth it?  Is it worth it to lose God's forgiveness just so i can stay bitter at someone?  Is it worth to face God's judgment just so i can keep bearing a grudge against someone for a little while here on earth?  Surely no matter how hard-hearted i am, i can see that even considering such a trade just shows how bad a person I am--not the other person.  Will i really let what that person did to me keep me out of heaven? 

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