Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some pondering on the beauty of forgivness

When I struggle with forgiveness... 70 times 7 times I must forgive. It's easy to forgive a one time offense, but where did Jesus say to shun a brother or sister who is continuing to make mistakes? Where did he say that it's ok not to forgive someone who deeply hurt you? When do you read about Him spending his time and showing his love to all the "good" people? Never. He loved the broken, chastised the "holy men" and sacrificed His everything to reach out and touch those in need. So many times there is much more behind the scene.. that we judgmental humans don't want to see. Think about that before you slap a scarlet letter on your brother or sister who is crying out for help. Before tearing down someone for the mistakes they've made and continue to make, remember that we are supposed to be vessels of Christ's love, and He never leaves us, never gives up, never stops forgiving.. never stops loving us no matter how far we run, He's always there by our side.
Something to think about before you say words or take actions against a fallen brother or sister that you can't take back. The sick are the ones who need a doctor the most, likewise the fallen and broken are the ones who really need us to love and forgive them unconditionally. It's easy to love somebody who never wrongs you, but it's when you find yourself at the end of the sword that times get tough and you've still gotta forgive and love. Because forgiveness and love are gifts that keep on giving.. its when you pour yourself out that you're truly filled.
True forgiveness never expects anything in return. No return of forgiveness, no change.. Forgiveness is only whole if it's unconditional. The broken spirit doesn't just make a u-turn in life and live life perfectly from that moment foreward. It usually takes a long process of relapse and recovery to find itself whole again. How many times do we let God down EVERY DAY?? Does He stop loving or forgiving us? Even for a moment? As humans that's a hard concept to grasp. We throw around forgiveness with the tagged on condition that the offense not be made again. We expect a change before we will forgive. But that's not forgiveness at all. It's a selfish manipulation of a weak man's soul. Sure, total reconcilliation is never complete until repentance and forgiveness are joined together from both sides of the fence, but reconcilliation is not supposed to be our condition to forgive. Goal? yes. But wether or not it's ever attained carries no weight against our responsibility to forgive our enemies, forgive our closest brothers and sisters, over and over and over. And likewise to repent when we are the sword stabbing their heart back. To do our best to remove the log in our own eye before we go picking at splinters in somebody else's. 
So very often we push the needy away from Christ.. we look down on the sinner instead of loving the sinner no matter how much we hate the sin. We show human "love" when we feel loved, and are all too quick to cast judgement on a situation that may be far deeper than meets the eye. Instead, we should be loving and forgiving unconditionally so that we can be a light to the lost, a rope to the falling, a healing touch to the broken. No matter if that person accepts your forgiveness, no matter if the boat heeds the lighthouse.. our responsibility is to be there for them regardless of what they chose to do with it. By doing so we have fulfilled our responsibility before God and fellow man to do what is right regardless of reward, in spite of continued hurt, and without a promise of a better future for us. Putting aside our wants and needs and caring for the lowly and broken.. that's when you suddenly find a peace and joy that you never saw before. And you never know when Christ might just walk across your path disguised as the most lonely and broken soul on earth. So my challenge to you today is to learn from your mistakes, but don't hold them in contempt, just move on and do your best to avoid those pitfalls in the future. Because if you can't forgive yourself, you cant forgive anybody else, and you haven't truly accepted the everlasting forgiveness of your father in heaven. Life is too short to brood over the way people are gonna hurt you, it's too wonderful to spend even a moment in bitterness. It's too precious a gift to waste it away looking or demanding to be filled by someone else, because the only true path to feeling filled is to spend your life filling the needs of others, and before you know it, the circle will come back you the moment you stop expecting and demanding it.