Forgiving other people is extremely difficult.
We want people to be genuinely sorry for what they have done to us, but most of the time, those who have hurt us lack the ability or maturity to even see, much less take ownership of, the truth of their actions.
At the end of the day, almost all true forgiveness resembles Jesus’ words on the cross,
“Father, forgive them,
for they do not know
what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
In reality, when ‘they’ hurt you or me, they were living out of their own hurt, pain, and under-developed personhood. The little, scared, and hiding child in them was trying to self-protect. In their diminished humanity, they need to heal as much or more than you and I do. The more capable someone is of hurting others without genuine remorse, the worse someone’s offenses are, the more injury they are able to inflict on another human, the smaller the soul inside them is revealed to be.
Life’s main task is to become the mature and full humans we were created to be - each of us unique in our reflection of the Image of God.
When we choose to live as less than fully human, carnage will always follow in our wake. Like a tribe of cannibals, we will chew and devour our way to the top and ruthlessly defend our little hill against any + all attacks. In our pain, we live in constant fear.
But fear is an evil dictator and turns us from humans into monsters.
When we live in fear,
mercy is impossible.
empathy is impossible.
love is impossible.
As difficult + painful as it can be, forgiveness is the only route to our healing, and to theirs.
Without forgiveness we cannot create a better world.
When we forgive, we take back the narrative of our life and choose a different ending.
Forgiveness allows us to move forward in our life. We are no longer anchored by the sin or the violation done to us. Instead, we are pulled forward by the profound hope that God is making all things new.
Forgiveness allows us to trust that even the sadly diminished + withered souls of the worst abusers have the potential to be healed, their humanity restored. They, too, are a beloved child of God. A child must realize she is loved before she can grow into a person able to own her actions, offenses, and faults.
Who are you allowing to control the narrative of your life?
What would change if you could forgive 'them’?
What healing do you need in order to move forward in faith + love?