Friday, January 19, 2007

Believing in Forgiveness

I hear people talk about forgiveness all the time: "God has forgiven you, but have you forgiven yourself?" But honestly I have no idea what that means. What does it mean to forgive yourself?

As far as I understand forgiveness, when someone forgives you, they cancel the debt that you owe them. So, when we get consumed with self and materialism and judging others and all that other junk we do every day, we build up a debt of transgressions against God that only he can forgive. Or maybe, we've hurt someone with an affair or a half-truth or a verbal attack and we need them to forgive us. In each case the debt we owe someone else needs to be canceled. All that I can understand. But when we do this stuff we don't owe ourselves an apology, so how could we forgive ourselves?

I think what people mean by that phrase is, "Have you accepted the forgiveness that's being offered to you?" And that's the kicker. Because truthfully, most of the time I would have to say no. I don't really accept the gift of forgiveness because it takes a ton of humility and courage to accept the idea that I owe anyone anything--and even more courage to accept that they have canceled that debt.

So that's my goal for today--to say yes. To accept the gift of God's, and other people's, forgiveness. As hard as it is, as humbling as it is, that's what I seriously need right now. The courage to accept a canceled debt.

1 comment:

Traci said...

My struggle with forgiveness has always been trying to forgive the person how hasn't even bothered to ask for it. Carrying a grudge gets tiring, I know.