Thursday, May 10, 2007

Why Can't I Forgive (from Gary Smalley)

This popped in my email this week. Thought it was good...

Why can't I forgive?

We all know that forgiveness is important and critical to any healing in a relationship. Still the question remains: "Why is it so hard to forgive?"

Here are three main roadblocks to forgiveness.

First, there's the inability to see our own mistakes and imperfections. If we're unable to see our own faults and mistakes, how can we possibly move toward forgiveness in our relationships? We must first be able to admit that we're not perfect and that we're capable of hurting people we love. This gives us compassion.

Second, there's unresolved anger. Unresolved anger is a major hindrance to the healing power of forgiveness. If we refuse to let go of bitterness, rage or hatred, we're holding on to very destructive forces. These forces are in direct contrast to the power of forgiveness, and they cannot exist together.

Finally, there's a misunderstanding of what forgiveness is. Many people have great misconceptions about what forgiveness is, and therefore they struggle with it. I like what author Paul Thigpen says. "Two New Testament words we translate 'to forgive' mean literally 'to let go' and 'to cancel a debt'. I found that at times the phrase 'I forgive you' seemed empty, so I said, 'I release you. I let you go. I let go of this offence. I cancel your debt. You owe me nothing now. I renounce my desire to get even with you.' That way, the imagery of this biblical language filled the word 'forgiveness' with a more specific and concrete meaning."

Forgiveness may lead to reconciliation or it may not, but they are not the same. Paul recognizes this when, in writing about our attitude to those who wrong us, he says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).

Is there someone you need to forgive today?

1 comment:

Keith said...

It's hard to reconcile with people that are in denial. So I guess I'll just try that "liv[ing] at peace" thing.