What Is Forgiveness?
Our World Needs Forgiveness
Social Network in the past week exploded with sentiments when 128 were killed in Paris by suspected terrorists belonging to the Terrorist organization ISIS. Solidarite a la France was the call that resulted, with people coloring their facebook profile pictures with the colors of the Flag of France. Noticeably in some social network, the Christian community responded with gusto! This indeed was a chance to show solidarity for those things that must be to many, anti-Islamic.
However, in the midst of emotional moments, overlooked things began to surface. As some in the world celebrated solidarity, others in the world asked, "What about us, who showed solidarity with our tragedies or even dared to show solidarity by carrying our flags on their profiles?"
There may not be arguments good enough to convince the world that Paris' tragedy of this week deserves more attention and publicity than others. Facebook, twitter and other social media news platforms responded with equal energy about what they think smacks of hypocrisy.
As the talks continue, one just hopes that the way things feel now and how people react can lead to some kind of change and help us as a world forge ahead. As the consensus about divisiveness reach fever pitch, it is time to start thinking about forgiveness. We have to come to a place of forgiveness for our obvious ignorance of the suffering of others. We will have to forgive one another for thinking that our pain has to be greater or more important than the pain of others. We have to stop magnifying our cry of dread for the whole world to hear, when we continually muffle the voices of others. Our world has to learn to live in forgiveness. Every day, we must forgive. That however, is not the message of the politician. It is not the message of the business guru nor is it the message of those who run to arms and to bloodshed.
When we follow thee examples of Dr Meingle, Immaculee Illibagiza, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, we will be half way there. May be, there is something that those who have been terribly wronged have learned that we all need to learn;
"Forgiveness brings closure, it sets us free from the pain and need to hurt others. Forgiveness is the only remedy for the pain that human beings have to endure at the hands of other humans. Eventually, those who forgive are the ones who enjoy true freedom."
Faces of Forgiveness
Forgiveness In Everyday Happenings
I was on the tenth day of my journey into forgiveness and I had been progressing well when trouble hit as we got busy preparing attend my first daughter’s regional band competitions in Fort Myers, a city approximately 35 minutes’ drive away. I needed to attend this event because my daughter is in her senior year of High School and it would be the last time we saw her play in her band. The first and only other time I attended that event having been two years earlier. For some reason we were running behind time and risked missing her performance.
As soon as we got ready, I sat before my steering wheel tense and upset that we could not do things in time. I was sure we would miss the event but nonetheless I still had hope that we might just make it in time. I drove the limit all the way until we were on State Road 82 at the busiest point of the road and my baby would not stop crying; I had to stop and take care of her while we refueled the minivan. It took us close to 30 minutes to finish this business. By then, I was fuming and my answers and commands were terse. When we finally got back on the road and had driven for close to 10 minutes, I was very glad that we were getting close to our destination and we would probably make it. Just then, I noticed an object on the road and it was too late to avoid it. I ran over it and felt the rear right tire go down immediately. We limped to a stop at the point of the road where there was a wide berth. That was when I learned that I had been driving the car without a spare tire.
It took a kind and very well meaning couple to help us have the tire mended at the nearest auto shop. We spent slightly over an hour at that post. By then all hope of making it on time had been lost and I was my usual agitated self and angry at everyone that we could not make it, but, especially at my husband that he had not made it in time to bring me the spare tire which he had not put back on the car as was supposed to be the case.
My husband arrived in time to see the couple that had been helping us backing onto the main road on their way to the program they had put on hold for us. I asked if he could give the couple a $20 note just to thank them for the help they had given us; I suspected they would not accept it. My husband picked the note and waved it at the couple’s car as they were driving off. They shook their heads and went on their way. I was very embarrassed that my husband waved currency at our helpers. I did not take it easy and snapped at him to stop it.
Our woes were however not over because for some reason while waiting for my husband and the mending of the tire, I had misplaced my phone. We could hear it ringing but we no matter how hard and wide we looked, we could not find. Eventually we started off sure that the phone was in the van and that we would find it later. That was the last time I saw my brand new smart phone.
We missed my daughter’s performance narrowly because they were just calling out their results when we arrived at the venue. I was very disappointed but that would not be the last incident of the day. Several things would happen before sundown that would set me on edge and send me into the abyss with the non-forgiving and ruthless. At the end of the day, I owed almost everyone an apology and I was not afraid to apologize.
During the week, I had the opportunity of talking to my sister in law who was very concerned about the breakdown in relationship between me and my husband. I had not told anyone what I was up to because I can be quite privy. I felt in my spirit that if I shared some of my experiences in the same way I decided to share here on hubpages that I could be helped while I helped others.
After explaining to her what God was doing in our marriage, my sister in law asked me if I had watched “Fireproof”. Yes, I had watched “Fireproof” back in 2009 when it had come out. In fact, I watched it with my husband and another couple who were our friends. Well, that movie had no effect on my husband especially and specifically not on our marriage. My husband never even talked about nor reviewed the movie with me. The other couple went on to divorce a few months after that. Fireproof is a wonderful movie about forgiveness but it did not help us because we were not ready to do what it advised. The initial 40 days of forgiveness I had decided on was inspired by the movie “Arranged”. I had been embracing forgiveness already, 40 felt like a number I could work with, I had worked with it when I began fasting for our ministry back in 2008. Later the 40 days would extend to three months and as I go on to a way of life. I was still somewhat bemused at the thought of “Fireproof” and to the 40 days that were implied in it. God had peculiar ways of dealing with His children.
Love Would Never Do This
Lessons From "Forgiving Dr Meingle"
God had been talking to me about forgiveness for a long time, but I just did not know how to apply it because I had been getting increasingly angry and vengeful. I had however left myself open to be taught by Him by choosing not to take action on the negative things I felt in a way that was contrary to His word. You could say that I was vulnerable but still wanting to walk in obedience. What I did not write about in the beginning were some things I did that helped me arrive at my decision. First, within that week, I watched the movie “Arranged” and the documentary “Forgiving Dr Meingle” on Netflix.
It was when watching the documentary that my mind was set in motion about true forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness that was being talked about was to me not unfamiliar, I found something particularly disturbing when Mrs Eva Kors (who the documentary is all about) sat with a group of Palestinians who shared their plight very personally with her. I found her to be unforgiving in the way she reacted to the concerns they shared with her when she was in Palestine. This little part cast a deeply dark cloud on the subject of forgiveness. As far as I was concerned, there was no conclusive definition as to what forgiveness really was in that documentary. If Mrs Kors could forgive Dr Meingle, what was the issue with the Palestinians and her reaction to them? I would be thinking about that for a long time.
When the Bible teaches about forgiveness it does not discriminate. The command to love your neighbors or your enemies is directly related to forgiveness.
Mth 5:44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
I believe that forgiveness precedes love. If we cannot forgive, how will we love? If we forgive, we are willing to love. If we love, we will forgive. There cannot be one without the other because they are twins who walk hand in hand. We forgive for the very purpose that we may love even better or that we may be made perfect in love. Love that is conditional is not love at all. Love will love no matter what, and the same goes for forgiveness. We do not forgive because we hope that the other person will change but because we will not deal with people according to how they have dealt with us. I believe the most enduring and beautiful relationships are those in which the parties have learned to forgive. If we are progressive in our relating, we let bygones be bygones. We leave all the hurts behind and let love usher us into the future.
“Forgiveness looks behind, love looks ahead.”
Can you define forgiveness?
· Forgiveness ceasing to be angry with people for the negative things they have done to you so that you feel like you should harm them in some way emotional, physical etc. Anger is in itself a reaction to some misgiving but when it drags on, it becomes non-forgiveness.
When can we really say we have forgiven?
· When what others say, do or think to us ceases to cause pain, anger and give us a desire for vengeance.
How do I know I have not dealt with my non-forgiveness?
· When we have anger that is prolonged enough to we take it to bed with us. It is the beginning of living in sin.
How do I know I have resolved my issues of non-forgiveness?
· Whenever I can handle or deal with my anger healthily and without hurting anyone or keeping grudges.
· Non-forgiveness cannot exist without anger. Where there is prolonged anger, there is non-forgiveness and vice-versa.
By day 10 I noticed that with the choice to forgive came the natural feeling of love and more understanding towards others. Losing my phone that week made me particularly vulnerable to irritability and impatience but once I informed my mind that this too was a matter of having to forgive myself and all the events that led to the loss of the phone, I was on my way to forgiving others and living at peace.
Examples of Forgiveness In Our Time
- Dr. Bill Maier on Forgiveness and Restoration - Focus on the Family
Dr. Bill Maier addresses the issues of forgiveness and restoration
Immaculee Ilibagiza survived the Rwanda genocide and even though she lost most of her family, emerged with forgiveness and a profound relationship with God.
- Forgiveness and Corrie Ten Boom « who am i?
- CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center - Home