It has been seven months since my last entry here. Reading my last blog, I could not help but smile. The reason is that what I am about to write here is closely connected to that. Yes, it is what the title says...the craft of forgiveness.
Once again the Lord has proven me that none of our life experiences go into waste. Be it positive like victory, joy, and peace or negative such as pain, suffering or hurt caused by people we love. Everything has a purpose. Everything happens for a reason. However, you will only able to see the purpose or reason when you pause and see things in a bigger perspective like drone view. I talked about overlooking the offense last time here. I did not realize until the past few months that this particular experience is something that will be very useful in my post-grad studies and psycho-education work.
When I found out last June that one of our courses for the semester is about Forgiveness in Psychotherapy, I was not that excited. I have this notion that I might have known a lot already about the topic. Well, I have been living as a follower of Christ for almost twelve years now. So, is there something else I have not read and learn? Absolutely! I believe it is not only me who has this kind of attitude. I have seen this through the three 3-hour workshops of the same title in which I have conducted! There are three important things I have personally realized and decided to impart to people through the 3-hour workshop I have designed.
First, I recognized that I did not understand the meaning of true forgiveness. Among the several definitions our professor has presented us, I happen to identify with and like this one. Forgiveness is at once an expression of a commitment to a way of life, the cruciform life of holiness in which people cast off their ‘old’ selves and learn to live in communion with God and with one another, and a means of seeking reconciliation in the midst of particular sins, specific instances of brokenness (Jones, 1995, p. 5). Honestly, this is difficult to embody. However, the second thing most people do not understand is that forgiveness is a process and sometimes it is a very long process. But the important thing to do first is the decision to forgive. Based on my experience, it is very hard to forgive when the pain caused by the offense is too much. This requires an everyday choice to forgive accompanied by a prayer of asking for a forgiving heart. Forgiveness is not based on feelings but a decision and regardless of the offense, we are called to forgive. Why? This brings me to the most important realization.
As believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must understand that we are living a FORGIVEN LIFE. God has given His Son and what He did on the cross has radically changed our destiny! By His amazing grace, we have become forgiven and we are now living the life of a forgiven child of God. So, if God has forgiven us even if we do not deserve it, who are we not to forgive anyone who trespassed against us? It is stated in the Lord’s Prayer and we all know this...but unfortunately only by the head and not with a heart. That’s why it is a challenge for most of us to forgive. Yes, regardless of the gravity of the sin, we are called to forgive. For we have been forgiven.
Matthew 6: 14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Most importantly, in Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1: 7). Evidently, we are living a forgiven life. We are a forgiven child of God. We are called to embody and craft the act of forgiveness. So, let’s practice and pray for a forgiving heart. God bless us all.