Have you ever wondered why we are commanded to forgive? In the many talks I’ve heard and read in my Church regarding the subject, I’ve noticed a distinct lack of clarification and a lot of contradictory counsel on forgiveness. Like many Mormon and Christian youth, I was taught to repent, in very concrete steps. But no one taught me how to forgive–myself or others. I was simply told I needed to do it…”be cause God says so.” I heard the oft quoted parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:23-35 (oh my Druid friend will hate me for doing that…) that basically says that God will forgive you as much as you forgive others. It’s a great parable, but where exactly does it leave me? What does forgiveness mean? Why is forgiveness important? Why is it so difficult? And how in the world do we go about it? And finally, why is it that while repentance is given quite a bit of attention in my Church, with concrete methodology, why does the companion forgiveness gets left completely to our own interpretation?
I’m not sure I’ll ever get the answers to ALL these questions, but I’d like to give it a go in my next few posts. I have found some answers from a refreshingly secular approach in the book, “Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get on With Your Life” by Sidney B. Simon, and Suzanne Simon, and encourage you to read along with me. And no, I am in n way affiliated with the authors, books, Amazon, and certainly do not officially speak for or in behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Phshew…glad that’s over….
I’ll start with chapter 1 (where else?)
What forgiveness is not:
- giving up
- giving in
- wimping out
- admitting defeat
- letting the bad guys get away
- a form of self-sacrifice
- clear-cut and one-time decision/concrete
- for the benefit of those who have hurt us
Like many God-given gifts, forgiveness cannot be forced.
As comprehensive as I am, I may have missed a couple of things. Help me out? I will add them to the the list (if I agree *self-righteous grin*) as I get comments.