I have thinking about forgiveness tonight. Not micro-forgiveness but forgiveness of the macro variety.
There is a popular misconception that forgiveness is an altruistic notion; a lofty plane only the saintly can hope to obtain. I disagree. Forgiveness is really more pragmatic than you may imagine. There is a lot in it for us when we choose to forgive!
Here are my thoughts:
1) We don’t forgive to let those who have mistreated us off the hook; we forgive to let ourselves off the hook of bitterness and hate.
2) When we forgive we break the power those who have hurt us have over us. They no longer control our thoughts and emotions.
3) Forgiveness of others places us in position to be forgiven by God.
4) Forgiving someone does not exonerate them from God’s judgement.
5) Forgiveness returns the power that was stolen from us by putting us in proactive, not a reactive position in our lives.
When we forgive, we release ourselves from emotional bondage, break the power of our oppressors, place ourselves in right standing with God, turn those who have harmed us over to God’s judgment and enable ourselves to regain control of ourselves and our situation.
Downside? Not seeing one. Could it be that Jesus was right about this all along?
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois