I’m not sure how to handle forgiveness. The culture tells me I’m entitled to my grudges, my animosity, my lifelong hate against someone who wronged me. My friends tell me that I shouldn’t allow that one person back into my life—much less forgive them. That it’s idiotic for us to be close friends after the devastating breakup. That the walls I build are justified.
Christ and his kingdom step in and call me quite clearly, against the expectations of the world, to tell an alternate story. To forgive seventy times seven, yes, but also to be perfect as my Father is perfect. And yes, that’s great, and yes, I tell myself that I have forgiven and so fulfilled the letter of the law but I still hold a seed of hatred in my heart. I beg off forgiving completely, because they hurt me, they used me, whatever the situation may be, I’m completely and undeniably justified.
And recently, all that’s been thrown back in my face.
Because the letter of the law is there, but no spirit, no heart. This was never
and should never have been about me. Rob said in class that forgiveness is the
most important tool we have to give people a foretaste of the kingdom, and I’ve
been focusing much too hard on myself and my hurt to realize that I should be
extending an open hand, declaring boldly that
the kingdom of God is near. No reservations or qualifications. No second guessing. This is about as countercultural as I have ever been. It is everything the world is telling me not to do.
But that is exactly what Christ is calling me to do.
I forgive you. The kingdom of God is at hand.Anna