Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Forgiveness

People are hesitant to forgive because deep down they understand that true forgiveness would be an invitation to the offender back up to the same moral level as the offended. When we ask for forgiveness what we are asking for is grace. We are asking for the one we have offended to forget the offense altogether and carry on as if it had never happened. This is an audacious concept and why true forgiveness is such a difficult thing to give.

After a person realizes that they have done wrong they are moved to a lower moral level than they previously occupied. They know it and the offended knows it. It is natural, perhaps even just, for the offended to relish their newfound position on a higher moral level as a consolation prize for having been offended. This, however, is where grace comes in. Grace understands that this perceived moral discrepancy, while extremely evident, is an illusion. In reality each of us have committed offenses against one another and have lowered our moral standing consequently. Grace remembers Paul’s words, “In humility consider others better than yourselves.” Allowing someone who has offended us to remain on this illusory lower moral level is impossible if we are considering that person better than ourselves. Therefore, the Christian has no choice but to forgive. Not only to emulate Christ’s forgiveness of ourselves, but to combat pride in thinking of ourselves above others.

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