Everyone has experienced injury at one point or another. I have a nice scar to my right knee from when I was nine and attempted to jump off the top of a barbed-wire fence. I ended up hanging from it instead! Or the scar to my right thumb from the glass that broke while washing it. And my most treasured "scar" of the stretch marks that "earned" me a beautiful baby girl! All of these physical marks--are reminders--of various events in my life.
But not only have we all experienced physical injury, but I would have to say emotional injury as well. We've been hurt by family, friends, church leaders, co-workers, etc. etc. etc. But choosing to look at the "scars" and have them consume you can be dangerous.
Forgiveness. The Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines Forgiveness as "the act of forgiving." Wow--that's profound :) So what is "Forgiving"?
Forgiving--allowing room for error or weakness
Wow--what a great definition! We all have a choice.... to forgive or not to forgive....to allow room for error and weakness in other's lives .... or not to.
I am typically a pretty forgiving person and don't have a tendency to hold grudges, and recently I examined "why." What makes it easy for me to forgive others when I see so many around me have difficulty doing so? For starters, I think that when I'm hurt by another--typically I think--"they know not what they do." Most people do not make their morning TO DO lists and include "hurt someone today." It just happens. Hurting people--hurt other people.
But more importantly, I guess I am often reminded of Jesus and the forgiveness that He has extended to me. While I was yet a sinner--He died for me (Romans 5:8 paraphrased). Or what about the charge to forgive others and He will forgive us (Matthew 6:14--paraphrased). How can those words just be ignored?
"But I've been wronged!" I am sure you have. It is probably true... you have been mistreated, possibly abused, lied about, misused.... There is no denying your hurt or abuse. Never should injuries be made light of or made smaller than they are, but I have always found that I have no other choice but to forgive the offender in spite of the injury.
Forgiveness does not mean to trust the offender again. It does not mean they were right. It does not mean you have to be best friends again. It simply means that you do not hold them in contempt any more. It means that you simply choose to allow for error and weakness in others' lives. It's choosing not to stare at the scar and make it your focus. Because if you do--it can consume you. It is often a process....taking step by step. And it's definitely not always easy.
"But, But...." There will always be a "but...what about....?" That's when I am reminded--to take the plank from my own eye before attempting to locate and point out the speck in another's eye. When I reflect on my own life, I definitely need for others to allow for "error and weakness" in my life. What "right" do I have not to extend the same to others?
I've been hurt. I've been abused, mistreated, lied about, but I'm going to make a choice-- to (1 Peter 4:8) to love deeply--because love covers a multitude of sins. God is my defender, my attorney--and I just need to plead the fifth and allow him to speak on my behalf.
He will justify me (and has) and if not now...then one day in eternity. Until then, I've got to get busy unloading my planks.