Forgiveness and Reconciliation – Dividable?
Devotional thought of the day:
12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. Matthew 6:12 (TEV)
16 No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. 17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 18 All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. 19 Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends through Christ. God did not keep an account of their sins, and he has given us the message which tells how he makes them his friends. 2 Corinthians 5:16-19 (TEV)
236 Those who flee like cowards from suffering have something to meditate on when they see the enthusiasm with which other souls embrace pain. There are many men and women who know how to suffer in a Christian way. Let us follow their example. (1)
This post may cause you some grief, some anger. You may want to dismiss it; I know I struggle even writing it. But it is something I am dealing with, and I believe most of us need to work through to see God’s peace revealed.
There are many treasured phrases out there, but they all say the same thing, “forgive – but don’t forget.” I saw several today, basically saying that forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to let them hurt you again. Or that the real reason we are to forgive is to free us from the resentment, not to free them from the consequences of their words and actions.
They are saying this, forgiving someone shouldn’t cause you to suffer more. Even if that suffering is only becoming humble.
So here is the question, can you forgive someone without desiring reconciliation?
Can you really ask God not to hold their sins against, and vow to not hold their sins against them, and desire that the relationship remains in the broken, separated state it is?
I am not talking about their heart, they may refuse the reconciliation, but ours cannot harden to the possibility of it. We have to grow in our desire of it. We have to pray for it, work for it, struggle with the sacrifice and humility of it. And when it doesn’t happen, we have to weep.
It is that simple.
We have to bear that cross. We have to love that deeply.
Reconciliation may be a long process; it may seem beyond our ability, beyond the ability to even desire. It’s not going to be a smooth path, but it is one we are called to embrace. It is our deepest vocation as children of God.
We may not like that; we may not want to hear it. We may rebel against it, find excuses, rationalize the need away. We may say that God wouldn’t ask us to embrace that level of suffering.
We would be wrong.
God desires that none perish, but that all would be changed, their hearts and their minds. Our hearts and our minds.
This is how we live in the baptized life, the reconciled life, the redeemed life.
Even on the days we have to cry out, “Lord, I believe, help me when I can’t believe”; on the days we cry out, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”
He has..so rejoice and love.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1183-1186). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.