I have been thinking about forgiveness a lot recently. I am aware that there are a number of people and situations that I need to forgive. I heard something recently that has really resonated with me. It was a conversation on the CBC a few weeks ago. The host was interviewing a woman whose daughter had been kidnapped and then murdered. She spoke about how she lives a life of forgiveness. She said that anger can be addictive because it makes us feel powerful and in control and that forgiveness is something she has to work at each day. That she decides to forgive her daughter’s killer each day and that forgiveness is an active state for her and her family.
As I was listening to her speak I heard the Gospel being proclaimed. The Gospel of a radical lived out forgiveness and reconciliation.
I have carried a lot of anger around for more time than I want to remember. I am not going to make a list here as I am sure that many of my readers could come up with their own hurts and angers. I have, however, decided that I need to find a way to move forward and to forgive, not to forget as I have learned many good lessons, but forgive so that I am not consumed by the anger in my soul.
Here’s the thing. We are moving. The dear one has accepted the offer to be the rector of a parish in Alberta. Yep, praise God, we are out of this morass and get a chance to be part of a worship community again! This is the main reason that I need to work on forgiveness. I need to learn again how to trust and love those who work with and for the church. I need to forgive so that I can find joy in ministry and the gifts that it will bring. I need to forgive so that the past hurts don’t eat me up and drain all the good out of me. I need to forgive so that I can love with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. I need to forgive so that I can make steps to being the whole person that I know God is calling me to be. I need to forgive so that I can live as joyfully and as hopefully as I can.
This I know is going to be hard work. I know that it is going to be a decision that I have to make everyday, to forgive and let go. With God’s help I will work on this. I will keep on working on it probably for the rest of my days. Forgiveness is hard and necessary work. It is why Jesus put it in the middle of the Lord’s prayer – ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those of others’. I can’t be forgiven until I become someone who forgives.
Here is my promise to myself (and I am making it public so you all can keep me to it), I will forgive those who have hurt me and the dear one. I will let the anger go. I will do this everyday until it becomes a part of me and I don’t feel the anger anymore. This is what I will do to live out my faith, a faith born in radical forgiveness and grace.