Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

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

Always Merciful

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Every attribute of God must be infinite as himself. He cannot be sometimes merciful, but not always merciful. He cannot be just, but not always just. Mercy belongs to him, and needs no contrivance of theologic chicanery to justify it.

“Then do you mean it is wrong to punish sin, and therefore God does not punish sin?”

By no means.

God does punish sin, but there is no opposition between punishment and forgiveness. The one may be essential to the possibility of the other. We are back to my question: Why does God punish sin?

“Because in itself sin deserves punishment,” do you answer?

Then how can God tell us to forgive it?

“He punishes, and having punished he forgives.”

That will hardly do. For if sin demands punishment, if the making right for sin is punishment, and righteous punishment is given, then the man is out from under sin’s claim upon him; he is free. Why should he now be forgiven?

“He needs forgiveness, because no amount of punishment can make up for the sin that is in his nature. Nothing will fully give him all he deserves.”

Then why not forgive him at once, if the punishment is not essential, if it does not adequately remedy the whole of the problem of sin? And this points out the fault in the whole idea.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Third Series, “Justice,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, compiled by Michael Phillips, p. 257-258

The Spiritual Work of Being Human

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.

— Kerry Egan, On Living, p. 30

God’s Joy

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

God is always presented as full of joy, especially when he pardons.

— Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy, p. 117

Corruption and Sin

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognized as such and making us humble, is elevated to a system, it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviors. Jesus says to his disciples: Even if your brother offends you seven times a day and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous.

— Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy, p. 81

Forgiveness and Grief

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Forgiveness is so difficult because it involves death and grief. I had been looking for patterns in people extending generosity and love, but not in people feeling grief. At that moment it struck me: Given the dark fears we feel when we experience loss, nothing is more generous and loving than the willingness to embrace grief in order to forgive. To be forgiven is to be loved.

The death or ending that forgiveness necessitates comes in many shapes and forms. We may need to bury our expectations or dreams. We may need to relinquish the power that comes with “being right” or put to rest the idea that we can do what’s in our hearts and still retain the support or approval of others.

— BrenĂ© Brown, Rising Strong, p. 150