Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

As We Forgive

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

If we forgive not men their trespasses, our trespasses remain. For how can God in any sense forgive, remit, or send away the sin which a man insists on retaining? Unmerciful, we must be given up to the tormentors until we learn to be merciful. God is merciful: we must be merciful. There is no blessedness except in being such as God; it would be altogether unmerciful to leave us unmerciful. The reward of the merciful is, that by their mercy they are rendered capable of receiving the mercy of God — yea, God himself, who is Mercy.

— George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel, p. 140-141

[Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012]

Facets of Forgiveness

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Forgiveness is the feeling of peace that emerges as you take your hurt less personally, take responsibility for how you feel, and become a hero instead of a victim in the story you tell. Forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it changes the present. Forgiveness means that even though you are wounded you choose to hurt and suffer less. Forgiveness means you become a part of the solution. Forgiveness is the understanding that hurt is a normal part of life. Forgiveness is for you and no one else. You can forgive and rejoin a relationship or forgive and never speak to the person again.

— Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 68-69

[Photo: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, May 25, 2015]

Power

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Something has happened, clearly, that has unleashed this new kind of power into the world. That something is the chain-breaking, idol-smashing, sin-abandoning power called “forgiveness,” called “utter gracious love,” called Jesus. It isn’t that first you have to repent and then, as a result, God may decide not to press charges on this occasion. It isn’t that somehow you thereby gain “forgiveness” as a kind of private transaction unrelated to the truth about the wider world. It is, rather, that forgiveness is the new reality. It is the way the new creation actually is. All it requires to belong to that new creation, with that banner over its doorway, is that you should turn from the idols whose power (did you but know it) has already been broken and join in the celebration of Jesus’s victory.

— N. T. Wright, The Day the Revolution Began, p. 384

[Photo: Chateau Chillon, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, November 12, 2000]

A Picture of Forgiveness

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

The cross is not a picture of payment; the cross is a picture of forgiveness. Good Friday is not about divine wrath; Good Friday is about divine love. Calvary is not where we see how violent God is; Calvary is where we see how violent our civilization is. The justice of God is not retributive; the justice of God is restorative. Justice that is purely retributive changes nothing. The cross is not where God finds a whipping boy to vent his rage upon; the cross is where God saves the world through self-sacrificing love. The only thing God will call justice is setting the world right, not punishing an innocent substitute for the petty sake of appeasement.

— Brian Zahnd, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, p. 86

[Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 17, 2004]

No Moral High Ground

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Richard Rohr says that the people who’ve truly experienced grace — meaning they’re not worthy of it and they still get it — are no longer in a position of being able to decide who “the deserving poor” are. When you realize that no one’s worthy and yet everyone receives (the practice of the church that illuminates this idea is the open table at the Eucharist), where’s the moral high ground that you stand on anymore? The only ground you get to stand on is the ground at the foot of the cross, with all the rest of us sinners. But it’s holy ground. It’s a position of standing in and among, and in solidarity with everyone, and singing praise to God. It’s a very different way of seeing Christianity, I think.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 211

[Photo: Glenveagh, Ireland, July 2001]

Grievances Don’t Happen by Chance

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

I want to make clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that a grievance does not occur by chance. Just because we were mistreated does not mean we have to create a grievance. A grievance isn’t inevitable just because of a deep wound. A grievance forms when you react to painful situations in a specific way….

When we realize our role in the grievance process, we can then decide to play the central role in our healing. The most powerful way to heal is through forgiveness. When we forgive, we take something less personally, blame the person who hurt us less, and change our grievance story. Through learning the process of forgiveness, we can forgive anyone who has hurt us in any way.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 64

[Photo: Assateague Island, October 24, 2016]

Freedom in Forgiveness

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

The journey to release all grudges, to relinquish the quest for revenge, and to let go of the fantasy of what might have been is one of the most difficult spiritual challenges we’ll ever face. But I promise you, it is also the most rewarding. Because the other side of forgiveness is freedom.

There was a time when I believed the act of forgiveness meant accepting the offender, and by doing so, condoning the act. I didn’t understand that the true purpose of forgiveness is to stop allowing whatever that person did to affect how I live my life now.

— Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays, p. 112

[Photo: Burg Rheinstein, Germany, July 1997]

Forgiveness Is a Choice.

Friday, May 11th, 2018

I begin where I always begin discussions of forgiveness: with my assertion that forgiveness is a choice. Neither you nor I have to forgive anyone who has hurt us. On the other hand, we can forgive all who have done us harm. The decision is ours to make. Forgiveness does not happen by accident. We have to make a decision to forgive. We will not forgive just because we think we should. Forgiveness cannot be forced. I have no intention to demand that you forgive, but I will show you how and then the choice is yours. To help you choose, let me show you why I believe forgiveness is in your best interest. This choice exists whether or not someone asks for forgiveness. Each of us can learn to land the planes endlessly circling on our radar screen. When we choose forgiveness we release our past to heal our present.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 63

[Photo: Burg Rheinstein, Germany, July 1997]

The Good News

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Atonement theories are not the gospel. Across the New Testament, while metaphors do appear to hint at the “how” of atonement, the emphasis is not on these symbolic explanations, but on the story itself. Preaching the gospel never meant theorizing how atonement happens but, rather, proclaiming good news: the events and impacts of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.

— Bradley Jersak, A More Christlike God, p. 230

[Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012]

Grace in Community

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Jeff, like so many of us, is changed by the word of grace that he hears in church. He is formed by the Word of God. He is given a place where he is told by others that he is a child of God. He is given a place where he can look other people in the eye, other annoying, inconsistent, arrogant people in the eye, hand them bread, and say, “Child of God, the body of Christ, given for you,” and then he, in his own arrogant inconsistencies, has a frame of grace through which to see even the people he can’t stand. I argue that this wouldn’t just happen alone.

This is why we have Christian community. So that we can stand together under the cross and point to the gospel. A gospel that Bonhoeffer said is “frankly hard for the pious to understand. Because this grace confronts us with the truth saying: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner, now come as the sinner you are to a God who loves you.”

God wants you, you in your imperfect, broken, shimmering glory.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 168-169

[Photo: Shenandoah National Park, September 27, 2014]