Love in Forgivenes

Have you ever been in the position where you had to choose between forgiveness or getting crushed by the overwhelming force of the world? Have you ever had to choose between the act of forgiveness or allowing your heart to be consumed by the darkness brought on by the pain caused by another’s words, actions, or silence? Have you ever had the opportunity to forgive with your whole heart?

Last night, at the Gathering of the Radius Community, several of Jesus’ last prayers from the week before he died were shared, six from across the Gospels, but one specifically stood out to me.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
– Luke 23:34

It was pointed out that this short prayer was one of the only times that Jesus asks for something that may have not been the will of the Father. And in this moment, when asking for forgiveness, even as he is being put to death, he is pouring out love.

It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness. Without that dream, there would be no love, for every act of love is in some way a promise to forgive. We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.
– Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

Forgiveness defines us. Not only as followers of Jesus Christ, but as human beings.

I have had many opportunities to forgive. Sometimes it took me mere moments, but other pains took much longer. I have forgiven those who have accused me. Who have acted out in violence towards me. Who have harmed me. Who have used words to cut deep into the soul. And I have learned to love them even more.

Forgiveness is the ultimate act of love.

When we forgive, we let go of everything that caused that pain and begin to allow ourselves to heal. When we forgive, we release the chains that bind not only us, but those who hurt us, to our pain and our scars. And when we release one another from the pain caused, we grant them freedom.

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