Two Fresh Insights About Forgiveness
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness, he will bring forth justice.” ~Isaiah 42:3
Life lessons have a way of appearing on our doorstep over and over again until the light bulb finally turns on. I wrote about forgiveness last April. It happened when I fell into the pages of a book. Tonight as I write this, I’m just getting home from the movie Paul, The Apostle of Christ. It’s an incredible film. The overarching theme is mercy, love and pardon.
This time around I have new insights. One, forgiveness is not a natural response to being hurt. We’re born with an instinct for self-protection. Genuine forgiveness is only cultivated through grace and humility. Two, by far the most difficult forgiveness to offer is pardoning ourselves when we’ve fallen short or made mistakes. Too often we shoulder guilt like a cement bag. The weight can crush our soul. Self-forgiveness begins when we acknowledge our imperfection and spiritual immaturity and know we are forgiven by a loving God.
From April 2017 “Forgiveness, the gift we give ourself”
My daughter shared the scripture with me on Sunday morning. She suggested that it ties in well with my current
interest obsession. I’ve been riveted by the message of forgiveness and grace ever since I discovered www.secondchance.org. And,once the book People of the Second Chance arrived on my doorstep, I’ve been engrossed in it and talking about it to anyone who will listen. I believe the message holds a key to a happier life and is a critical part of the process of becoming the best possible version of ourself.
How forgiveness should be
The passage from Isaiah describes the incredible patience and tenderness of a forgiving God. The accompanying commentary refers to the way God will “foster and cherish and feed the spiritual life, all but extinguished.” He will prop up and support the reed and “rekindle the wick of a lamp with oil till it burns brightly again.”
The bruised reed and the smoldering wick are great metaphors for those difficult times. Those times when we feel circumstances have beat us down or as if our light had grown dim. We’ve all experienced dark passages as we travel through life.
Unforgiveness is simply too heavy to bear
At times, we have to forgive ourselves and recognize that those times do not define who we are. This can be extremely difficult. If we believe we are not worthy of forgiveness, it can cripple us. At other times, we need to forgive someone else, someone who may have done terrible harm to us or inflicted tremendous pain. Forgiveness is not something we offer because the person who hurt us necessarily deserves it, but rather because the burden of unforgiveness is simply too much for us to carry.
“Forgiveness will unleash a power in your life that is underrated and often ignored”~Dr. Allen Hunt
That’s a tagline from another book in my queue, Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody by Dr. Allen Hunt. Here’s what the book’s description has to say:
“Forgiveness is underrated mainly because it is underused. We fail to capture the power of forgiveness because we are afraid of it, because we have grown comfortable in our familiar wounds, or because we are sinfully stubborn.”
“Give forgiveness and you will unleash a flood of grace on yourself and on those around you……… Replace your clenched fist with an open hand and watch as God fills your soul to overflowing.”
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”~Mahatma Gandhi
This Sunday April 8 is Divine Mercy Sunday for Catholics and many other Christians. I encourage you to explore what it can offer when forgiveness is more than you can handle alone. See you next week!