Monday 9 August 2010

As I forgave you ...

My post "Hard Forgiveness" has raised a number of issues both on this Blog and privately through people who e-mailed me or discussed it with me having read it.

I feel there are a few points worth considering here.

First of all, we are humans. We can't help it ... that's the way we are, the way God made us, with a multitude of various emotions, fears, hopes and ways of interpreting many situations in our lives. We're complex creatures. He had His reasons to create us this way.

Being human ... one of our first instincts is to protect ourselves and the ones we love. Another feature of our humanity is the ability to remember ... the good times, but more specifically the bad times. The worst they are, the more terrible they've been, the more they are imprinted in our memories. Anything can and will trigger these memories again ... visiting a place, seeing a photo, hearing a particular song ... anything ... and the bad memories come flooding back again. That's the price we pay for being human.

Christ said: "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who hurt us ..."

Thank God that He does not hold us to the strict letter of this particular contract; otherwise we'd all be taking the fastest elevator going down!

Yet ... He does hold us to the intent of that particular contract we recite in the Lord's Prayer.

He asks us to forgive ... that's the important thing. Not just seven times but seventy times seven … and many times more than that as well.

Forgiving someone means that we no longer hold a grudge, or any ill-will or ill-feelings towards them or the hurt they have caused us. We let them go in peace free of fear of any revenge or retribution on our part. This applies whether we tell them that they are forgiven, or whether they have moved away, or perhaps never asked or sought our forgiveness, and perhaps they don’t even care about our feelings.

What matters is that in our hearts we have truly forgiven them … and, here’s the difficult bit, … we can prove it to God should He ask us to.

Of course the memories will come back … we can’t help that. But let’s use them positively by forgiving once again. Let’ us use them as a reminder to pray for the ones who hurt us. Let us say to God : “Please look after that person … Enlighten them and lead them to find your love as I have found it too …” Would it not be wonderful if as a result of your hurt … and your prayers … someone finds God, perhaps for the first time.

Christ has His memories too when He sees the scars in His hands, feet and side. I believe He uses these memories to forgive us yet again.

Having truly forgiven, it is our right and duty to keep our distance from that person if we feel they create a threat to us or our loved ones. Keeping our distance is NOT a sin, and it does not mean that we haven’t forgiven or that our forgiveness is worthless.

Being human we can only forgive as humans. We cannot possibly forgive as He has forgiven, no matter how hard we try.

He was human, but He was/is God too … and that’s a level of forgiveness we can never achieve.

We can only hope to live by the intent of that particular contract in the Lord’s Prayer.

God bless.


  1. Wonderful reflection--thank you, Victor. One of the true "God-moments" in my life was one when I felt I could not forgive someone who had lied about me. I copied a passage from a book on forgiveness into my journal and then wrote, "God, this is as much as I can do. You you want me to forgive, you'll have to do it." And amazingly the sense of forgiveness came! I really learned from that that it is really God working in me that forgives--it's beyond me!

  2. Victor,
    Your thoughts here made me think of a question a spiritual director once posed to me in discussing forgiveness. She asked, "Do you think our Blessed Mother ever forgot the crucifixion?" Of course not but she was able to recall it through the lens of forgiveness.
    Thanks and God bless!

  3. Hello Cathy, Sister Ann Marie and Karinann,

    Thank you for writing in. Of course, you are right ... at the end of the day I doubt we have the capabilities to truly forgive, and we'll always need the help of God in doing so as He has asked us. Mary never forgot the Crucifixion and I'm sure she forgave us time and again when the memories of that event came to mind once again.

    God bless.

  4. You have become quite the controversial blogger haven't you? ;)

    You really bring to life the struggle for us, as mere humans, to forgive completely. When put into perspective, it makes what Jesus did that much more incomprehensible.

    And Karinann's comment made me just as awestruck at Mary's forgiveness.

    Thanks for the usual though-provoking post, Victor. God Bless.

    P.S. If you are wondering, I have long forgiven you for rooting for England in the World Cup. I have, however, kept my distance.

  5. Hello Michael and Joey,

    Thanx for taking the trouble to write in.

    I agree Michael, what Jesus did for us is truly incomprehensible. He forgave us completely without any punsihment or retribution; and also He did not keep His distance. He continues to be near us and with us always, to the end of time just as He promised. Yet ... many today still continue to hurt Him by theor actions.

    Mary forgave completely too ... and still, some Christians deny her a rightful place in our deserved gratitude.

    As for football ... I may have been missunderstood. In reality I supported no one in particular although it was great to see how the USA performed. I can foresee the US improving at and even winning this competition soon as football gets more established in America. England however were a disgrace.

    It's such a pity we have to keep our distance ... there are so many of my readers I would love to meet.

    God bless you Michael and Joey.

  6. I think Sister Ann Marie hit the nail on the head. It is only God working in us who truly forgives and even enables us to forget. For me, forgiveness is a journey that starts with a small (and big) step of choosing to forgive. Like Ann Marie, I have to then pray repeatedly for God's love and grace to empower true forgiveness. When I start, it's something deliberate and more a matter of the mind than the heart. But if I continue praying for God to change ME, I one day find that the sting of the hurt is gone. And sometimes, a beautiful friendship develops that is deeper than what happened before the hurt.

    That said, I've never had someone do something REALLY horrible to me, like physical abuse. In that case, I'm sure it would be harder to forgive.

    Thank you for posting these thought-provoking entries, Victor

  7. Victor, God seems to be speaking to many hearts about forgiveness. I just read the article below on another blog that I follow, and I liked this perspective on forgiveness--it was about the wicked servant in Matthew 18 who was forgiven a great debt by his master but then refused to forgive a small debt that someone else owed him...

    Forgiveness Misunderstood

    God bless you.

  8. Thank you so much Sarah for taking the trouble to write in. And thanx for the Link too.

    I encourage readers to visit that site.

    God bless.

  9. Victor, you have a wonderfully inspirational blog :) You always make me think.

    May the good Lord continue to inspire you so that you may cause us to stop and think.

  10. Another wonderful post my friend, I love it.
    .......:-) Hugs

  11. Thank you Daily Grace and Bernie for your kind words of encouragement. It is so nice to see you visiting here again. Thanx; I really appreciate it.

    God bless you Daily Grace and Bernie.

  12. I have always paused when people say you can't forgive unless you forget. Nursing a memory and just "having" it are two different things.
    Like a scar- I know it's there and I can pick at it or leave it alone.
    I know someone has hurt me but I can try to keep the memory at bay. I love your idea of praying for them when the memory resurfaces.

  13. Hi Laura,

    How nice of you to visit here. Thanx for taking the time to write in.

    Praying for those who hurt us is sometimes all we can do. God bless you Laura. Call again.



God bless you.