Tag Archives: Forgiven

Cultivate an Attitude of Forgiveness? Yes!

Cultivate an Attitude of Forgiveness

by Rev. Janet Stobie

Anything to Avoid Forgiveness
Anything to Avoid Forgiveness

I often write about living an attitude of gratitude but this morning my daily reading reminded me to think about an attitude of forgiveness. “I want to forgive him,” my friend said, tears slipping down her face, but I can’t. I’m trying though.

What keeps us from forgiveness?

  • If the hurt is old, it often becomes a comfortable friend, something to depend on. After all we’re used to it. We’ve been angry and hurt a long time. How will we cope without it.
  • Will offering forgiveness mean my hurt doesn’t matter? That’s what it feels like. Or maybe I’ll be condoning the other’s behavior.
  • In order to forgive him I’ll have to forgive me for my part in this fiasco.

What will forgiveness accomplish?

  • Possibly a mended relationship, but not necessarily. Just because we offer the gift of forgiveness does not mean it will be received.
  • Peace in my own heart. Since the hurt cannot be undone, forgiveness will enable me to let go of it. Whether or not my effort is accepted, my load will be lighter. I will no longer need to waste energy keeping my anger fueled. I can turn my heart to better pursuits.
  • Forgiving another will open my heart to God’s forgiveness of me.
  • Offering forgiveness initiates a ripple of peace and love in the world.

How often do we forgive?

  • Jesus said, “Seventy times seven”.  That means forgive often. Sometimes we have to forgive the same hurt many times, as we journey to a point that forgiveness has truly entered our hearts. In fact, we need to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness every day.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

(Luke 23:34)

 

 

God’s Laundry

Scrubbed clean.
Forgiven!

The list of addictions available to us – alcohol, drugs, gambling, computer games, dieting, shopping, prestige – seems to get longer every year. Even exercise, when carried to the extreme can become an addiction.

Psychologists told us long ago the first step in letting go of any addiction or any destructive activity, is to honestly admit the sin exists. The second step is to seek help.

Our Bible offers that same advice. After the prophet Nathan faced King David with his adultery, David wrote a song. We call it Psalm 51. I’ve quoted it here from “The Message” by Eugene Peterson, because his modern language paraphrase often brings clarity to the Biblical words:

Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.

Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.

I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.

You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, the full extent of my evil.

You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.

I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.

What you’re after is truth from the inside out.

Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,

scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.

King David realized his mistake, admitted it and asked God for help.  Alcoholics Anonymous talks about “a higher power”. Whatever the language, the request is the same. We need God’s help in cleaning up our lives. Whether it’s gossip or drugs, we cannot shake the bonds of evil on our own.

Near the end of his song, King David adds one more element to his healing:

“Give me a job teaching rebels your ways, so the lost can find their way home.” When we refocus on helping others, we gain healing for ourselves. We each know our individual addictions and the destruction they cause. Seek God’s help. Step into God’s laundry. Ask for a new life.