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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

FORGIVENESS

FORGIVENESS  
REFLECTION:  Wednesday, October 25, 2017

                Forgiveness involves both choice and process. True
forgiveness cannot be reduced to a simple formula but one might consider the following four steps which may lead to forgiveness.
1)      Face the facts
If we truly want to forgive and be forgiven, one must identify what has happened and understand its significance.  Consider the following:
a)       How serious was the offense? Some things require more patience than forgiveness. Does the offense warrant a need for the forgiveness process?
b)      How raw is the wound/hurt? Did the offense occur recently or was significant to you years ago? Would you be ‘picking the scab’ just to keep it open?
c)       How close is the person to me?
d)      How significant is our relationship?

2)      Feel the Feelings
If we tend to forgive quickly one might declare that forgiveness has occurred in haste that is without fully processing the violation for what it was. If one is in a state of emotional numbness or denial, one is in no condition to truly forgive.
But if we tend to slow the forgiveness process down by not feeling ready yet this may also be a subtle way of inflicting punishment on the offender.
Between these two extremes, there is an appropriate time to grieve the loss of what might have been.

3)      A Decision and a Declaration
Forgiveness is ultimately an act of the will, not a stirring of emotions. Forgiveness is an inward choice that produces a declaration:  ”I forgive you.”   From that moment on, the issue is done and over.

4)      Refresh It
Sometimes when we have forgiven someone we remember the hurt that they had caused. It is not a one-time decision to forgive but one needs to remind themselves to keep the commitment made and then let it go. Memories of the hurt will return but letting it go is a task we must do.

C.S. Lewis writes: “To forgive for the moment is not difficult, but to go on forgiving, to forgive the same offense every time it recurs to the memory- that’s a real tussle.
Questions to consider:
1.       Reflect upon each of the four points of forgiveness. Are you experiencing any of these steps towards forgiveness with others? How does this list help you to prepare to fully forgive?
2.       Jesus said, “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying “I repent,” you must forgive them. “ Luke 17:3-5
Are you willing to forgive others this many times even if they say, ”I am sorry” and seek forgiveness? How difficult is this to do?
What would you say to the one who hurts/ wounds/ offends you?

PRAYER
God we know it is difficult to forgive others who hurt, wound and offend us yet you ask us to listen to the other, and to respond in love and with faith. Enable us to do this as we are challenged and show us again what it means to be your faithful follower. Help us forgive others as we too need to be forgiven. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Resource:  Gary Inrig, “The Risk of Forgiveness: What it means to forgive”. Discovery Series, ODB Ministries. p. 28-32. NEXT week we will be a new series of reflections!

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