Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Inescapable Love

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

The notion of suffering as an offset for sin comes first of all, I think, from the satisfaction we feel when wrong comes to grief. We hate wrong, but, not being righteous ourselves, to a degree we cannot keep from hating the wronger as well. In this way the inborn justice of our nature passes over to evil. It is no pleasure to God, as it so often is to us, to see the wicked suffer. To regard any suffering with satisfaction, unless it be sympathetically with its curative quality, comes of evil and is a thing God is incapable of. His nature is always to forgive, and just because he forgives, he punishes. Because God is so altogether alien to wrong, because it is to him a heart-pain and trouble that one of his little ones should do the evil thing, there is, I believe, no extreme of suffering to which, for the sake of destroying the evil thing in them, he would not subject them. A man might flatter, or bribe, or coax a tyrant. But there is no refuge from the love of God. That love will, for very love, insist upon the uttermost farthing.

“That hardly sounds like love,” you say. “It’s certainly not the sort of love I care about.”

No, how should you? How should any of us care for it until we begin to know it? But the eternal love will not be moved to yield us to the selfishess that is killing us. You may sneer at such a love, but the Son of God, who took the weight of that love and bore it through the world, is content with it, and so is everyone who truly knows it.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael Phillips, p. 261-262

Dwelling on Good

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

Just because bad things happen does not mean you have to dwell on them. I regularly ask people why they do not dwell on their good fortune with the same energy that they invest in their bad fortune. This question always catches people by surprise. They rarely consider appreciating their good fortune as an equal option to obsessing over their bad fortune. Are you one of those people who seem to find their problems more compelling than their blessings? Do you, or someone you know, rent out more space to what is wrong than what is right?

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 9

Healing Repentance

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Sin and suffering are not natural opposites. The opposite of evil is good, not suffering. The opposition of sin is not suffering, but righteousness. The path across the gulf that divides right from wrong is not the fire, but repentance.

If my friend has wronged me, will it console me to see him punished? Will that be a rendering to me of my due? What kind of friendship would I be ft for if that were possible, even with regard to my enemy? But would not the shadow of repentant grief, the light of reviving love on his face, heal it at once, however deep the hurt had been?

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled by Michael Phillips, p. 259.

Job’s Depression

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

It is important to realize that nowhere in this book are we given reason to believe that Job’s depression, in and of itself, is ever viewed by the Lord as being his own “fault.” On the contrary, in view of the clear mandate for unlimited harassment (short of death) given to Satan in the Prologue, we are constrained to see Job’s psychic trauma as part and parcel with his other trials, just one more of the Devil’s assaults upon his faith. In fact the message that begins to unfold in Chapter 3 is that depression in a believer, far from being unforgivable, is one of the things that the Lord is most ready and eager to forgive. It may even be something that does not call for forgiveness at all, and far from being a sign of loss of faith it may actually demonstrate the presence of the sort of genuine and deeply searching faith that God always honors.

— Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job, p. 59-60

Giving Grievances Space

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

If you can view your mind as your house, I can teach you to control how much space you rent to your wounds and grievances. You are the proprietor, and you set the rent. Each of us decides who our tenants are and the conditions of the lease. What kind of accommodations do we want to give our wounds and grievances?

We can rent our grievances the master bedroom and build them a hot tub out back. We can give them a great lease with terrific terms that never expire, or we can grant them only a day-to-day tenancy. We can allow them to put their stuff in all the rooms of the house, or we can restrict them to a small room in the back. In other words, we need to ask: How much time do we spend thinking about our hurts and disappointments? And, When we think about them, how much intensity is there?

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 8

The Way Out

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The path away from judgment of self and neighbor requires major mercy, both giving and, horribly, receiving. Going without either of them leads to fundamentalism of all stripes, and fundamentalism is the bane of poor Mother Earth. Going without engenders blame, which offers its own solace but traps us like foxes. We trick out box traps with throw rugs and vases, until the pain grows too big. Then the only way out of jail is forgiveness.

— Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway, p. 48-49

Defining Forgiveness

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

I define forgiveness as the experience of peace and understanding that can be felt in the present moment. You forgive by challenging the rigid rules you have for other people’s behavior and by focusing your attention on the good things in your life as opposed to the bad. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or denying that painful things occurred. Forgiveness is the powerful assertion that bad things will not ruin your today even though they may have spoiled your past.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. xii

An Instinct for Forgiveness

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

“The natural response when someone hits you,” the Archbishop said, “is wanting to hit back. But why do we admire people who don’t choose revenge? It is our recognition of the fact that, yes, there are those who think an eye for an eye is going to satisfy you. But in the end you discover that an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind. We have an instinct for revenge but also for forgiveness.”

— Archbishop Desmond Tutu, quoted by Douglas Abrams in The Book of Joy, p. 236

Stop with the Revenge

Saturday, April 29th, 2017

All of us complain about what is missing in our lives, what we don’t have or what we would like more of. Our willingness to take a deeper look at why we do not have this thing would bring us our answer. The answer is that we are getting revenge on someone. It is always true that we are getting revenge on ourselves, but that is not the whole answer. Revenge is always about getting back at someone beside ourselves. As we are willing to let go of our power struggles with this person, we are no longer robbed of our present happiness.

Today, it is time to stop getting revenge and let yourself receive. Ask yourself, “By not having this thing, who is it I’m getting revenge on? Who is it I am getting back at?” Close your eyes and imagine this person standing in front of you. Is the power struggle worth more than what it is you want? Be willing to forgive them for whatever wrong you perceived them doing. Now give to them the very thing you want. As you do, you will feel yourself receiving and being filled with the same thing.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love,, p. 252

Punishment of Sin

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Punishment is nowise an offset to sin. Punishment, deserved suffering, is no equipoise to sin. Suffering weighs nothing at all against sin. If sin sits on one scale, it will move it not a hairsbreadth to lay punishment and suffering on the other. They are not of the same kind, not under the same laws, any more than mind and matter. To attempt to equate them would be like placing a cubic inch of lead on the one scale, and attempting to balance it by placing a cubic yard of air on the other. The sin is unmoved. It remains where it is though an eternity of punishment and suffering be brought to bear against it.

If it were an offset to wrong, then God would be bound to punish for the sake of punishment. But he cannot be, for he forgives. Then it is not for the sake of punishment, as a thing that in itself ought to be done, but for the sake of something else, as a means to an end, that God punishes.

Primarily, God is not bound to punish sin; he is bound to destroy sin. If he were not the Maker, he might not be bound to destroy sin — I do not know. But seeing he has created creatures who have sinned, and therefore sin has, by the creating act of God, come into the world, God is, in his own righteousness, bound to destroy sin.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled by Michael Phillips, p. 258