“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32
I’m not sure I understand forgiveness. It’s probably more accurate to say that I don’t understand forgiveness in the way I used to. When I was a child forgiveness was linear. There was a break in relationship, an apology is given, forgiveness is offered, and everyone goes back to playing Legos. It was straightforward and without much complication. As relationships grow in complexity so too does forgiveness. The line of forgiveness takes twists and turns and sometimes hits a wall.
Does forgiveness mean going back to the way things were? If you still feel angry or if you can’t stop thinking about the wound does that mean you haven’t truly forgiven? Is forgiveness a momentary act or a way of life?
While there are lots of questions about forgiveness, there are also the things about forgiveness that we all know. We all know that forgiveness is a vital part of life. We all know that forgiveness is powerful. We all know that we should forgive. Yet this knowledge doesn’t necessarily make the journey of forgiveness any easier.
Sometimes hearing the admonition, “you should forgive” just isn’t enough. Sometimes we need to first weed out the bitterness and uproot the anger. We need to explore kindness and imagine compassion before we get to forgiveness. Sometimes we can’t go headlong into forgiveness, instead we need to sneak up on it (or rather, allow it to sneak up on us).
Friends this week our devotional will explore the windy, bumpy road of forgiveness in the hopes that, like the early church, we too would find our way.
“Dear God, I may not fully understand how forgiveness works, but I want a heart that longs to learn. Amen.”