Can you remember a time when someone forgave you? Perhaps they dismissed your angry outburst, or they understood when you borrowed something and it was broken. They asked no payment and forgave you. That was living grace. Learning to forgive is for the strong, not the weak. It is easier to hold on to resentment, a wrongdoing, or grudges. It takes a powerful inner strength to genuinely forgive a spouses’ unfaithfulness, a mother’s abuse, a sister’s betrayal, a brother’s lie, or a friend’s deception.
Webster defines forgiveness as, “ the attitude of someone that is willing to forgive other people”. That helps; it is an attitude. Does it require actions? I can talk myself into the fact that my attitude is right. My son did not have the right to reject me. It is his fault, not mine. My husband doesn’t listen and he purposely ignores me. That’s his fault, not mine. They have the attitude problem, not me. See what I am saying? Attitude is too nebulous for we human beings to define or act upon.
Instead, remember what Teilhard de Chardin said, “ We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” His perspective makes it so much easier to forgive. Consider the irrepressible spirit within each one of us. It cannot be blocked because we have a built in longing for love and peace. So, when you get slapped, Jesus advocates turning the other cheek. Why? We have a spiritual presence that helps these heavy weights of hurt and despair create a being more in the image of Christ. As we forgive, our spirit grows in the love that Christ has put within each of us. Granted forgiveness may start small with uttered words to our Father. Little by little the love of Christ inroads our selfish self, our bruised ego, and our broken heart. This slow erosion process reaps forgiveness in our soul and loosens the other person to discover more of his/her spirit of love. Who would think that our conscious act of forgiving could bring so many benefits to us and shape another soul? Ephesians 1:7: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”