Daily I pray to God for wisdom, because I know his promise is to give it generously to those who ask, without finding fault. And God gently has been revealing to me that gaining wisdom is contingent on my ability to forgive, a path that has vexed me for a very long time, especially in the past year. My ego would trick me into thinking I’ve got this baby down, and eagerly state its case: I don’t dredge up past offenses (not openly, but oh how they boil inside of me at every new sting), I don’t speak openly about what happened (but the reel of memory remains fixated on it), and I have extended generous amounts of mercy (yes, ego exchanging cruelty for mercy--he loves to twist things, doesn’t he)?
God, in His infinite illumination, has taught me this: ego and forgiveness can never coexist, because Forgiveness-to-Destroy misses the mark entirely, is deplete of love, and wholly forsakes Christ.
I came across this passage from A Song of Prayer last night before bed:
Forgiveness-to-destroy has many forms, being a weapon of the world of form. Not all of them are obvious, and some are carefully concealed beneath what seems like charity. Yet all the forms that it may seem to take have but this single goal; their purpose is to separate… First, there are the forms in which a “better” person deigns to stoop to save a “baser” one from what he truly is. Forgiveness here rests on an attitude of gracious lordliness so far from love that arrogance could never be dislodged. Who can forgive and yet despise? And who can tell another he is steeped in sin, and yet perceive him as the Son of God? Who makes a slave to teach what freedom is? There is no union here, but only grief. This is not really mercy. This is death.
Wow, Holy Spirit. Guilty as charged—but then, there is no condemnation in you, because you are the Source of forgiveness!
True forgiveness never separates from the Union of the Spirit and the love of Christ—it’s never arrogant nor self-seeking, but always trusting. True forgiveness is Communion. It’s Namaste—the Christ in me recognizes the Christ in others, laying all illusions aside, nailing them to the cross. Forgiveness is nothing short of Jesus’ call to us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind… you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Christ cannot be revealed in one and missed in another. Christ cannot be revealed in me if I miss Him in my brother. Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, for giving and receiving are one in Truth.
Forgiveness-for-salvation has one form, and only one. It does not ask for proof of innocence, nor pay of any kind. It does not argue, nor evaluate the errors that it wants to overlook. It does not offer gifts in treachery, nor promise freedom while it asks for death. Would God deceive you? He but asks for trust and willingness to learn how to be free. He gives His Teacher to whoever asks, and seeks to understand the Will of God… You, child of God, the gifts of God are yours, not by your plans but by His holy Will. His Voice will teach you what forgiveness is, and how to give it as He wills it be. Do not, then, seek to understand what is beyond you yet, but let it be a way to draw you up to where the eyes of Christ become the sight you choose.
Oh Lord, be thou my Vision. And help me to forgive.