I read this quote recently, and it conjured up a variety of counterproductive emotions in me.
“I like to define forgiveness as ‘giving up the right to punish the one who has hurt you.’ That’s what Jesus did on the cross.”
I am sure other people dont do this, but I have spent a lifetime perfecting the art of punishing people for their transgressions against me.
I can remember doing it as a child. If someone offended me or mistreated me I made it my unspoken mission to make them suffer as I had.
I used forgiveness as a weapon, a form of strategic manipulation in my ultimate battle to see who was the most ‘right’.
Thats very important to me you see… to be right.
When someone sought my forgiveness I had determined that it meant I was right. They were wrong and I had won.
This distorted view of forgiveness has brought me to disturbing conclusion.
I am wrong.
Over and over again, I am (was, is, have been) wrong.
Coming from someone who spent a lifetime trying to convince the world (and myself) that I am right, this is a horrific admission.
I read an excerpt from my Bible on forgiveness:
“Love is the prime ingredient in forgiveness. Often the one wounded must forgive with an act of the will, giving time for working through feelings and experiencing healing. Forgiveness comes with the removal of past offenses from the mind, followed by meditation on Scripture, giving over to God our hurts, praying for the offender, and serving as a willing channel for God’s grace.
…Forgiveness is the willingness to search for new solutions. (not mine or yours, but a new mutually acceptable way)
You must use words that do not cast blame or create questions. You must be concerned with seeking forgiveness only for your wrong. You must remember that a forgiving attitude does not excuse self, defend self, or accuse another.”
I love the transparent and authentic forgiveness that is God’s perfect design. His recipe is flawless. His way ideal.
I have been on a mission to seek forgiveness from everyone that I have wronged. (and shamefully, the list is long) Some have offered me mercy, some have not. Some hurts run deeper then others.
What I am learning is that through forgiveness, I am truly finding out what mercy is.
“Seeking forgiveness frees you to receive Gods mercy.” (from my Bible, ‘The Womens Study Bible’)
And after I try to amend the wrongs I have done on this earth, I can lay them all at the feet of Jesus, and he wipes the slate clean.
Now, my responsibility doesn’t end! I must seek to change my behavior! To learn from my errors.
But He doesnt hold them over my head… He doesnt whisper in my ear, “You dont deserve this joy Amanda, remember that one time you did that bad thing?”
He whispers, “I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you. You are forgiven.”