Monday, May 11, 2009

Seeing God Through Forgiveness...

So you may have noticed (both of you) that I haven’t been back to post here for a few days. It actually has nothing to do with not seeing God and everything to do with not taking the opportunity to write about it. In the process I’m beginning to see God teach me something about obedience and forgiveness.

Just yesterday morning I was thinking about God’s unconditional love and the concept of forgiveness. I’ve been reading a book by Anne Lamott called Traveling Mercies, the section was titled “Forgiveness.” She gives a rather unique perspective of how forgiving someone (even when they don’t ask for it, or know they should) actually changes something inside of us more than it changes the other person or even our circumstances. Now Anne has a very distinctive writing style. Actually it’s quite raw, but it’s refreshing, in a way, to read about her hurts and struggles and the way she writes with such open honesty. Friendly warning ***READ WITH CAUTION***

So I guess that was close to the surface of my mind and prime meditation material. Now as far as my personal experience with hurt goes, I’d have to say I’ve been blessed. However, depending on your perspective, maybe not. What it really means is that I’ve lived carefully instead of courageously. My goal (up to now) has been to prevent ruffled feathers instead of encouraging action, but the few times I’ve been pretty riled up it has always involved someone I love enduring the hurt, if not me directly. Two examples come to mind and involve ex-in-laws (of the sister and brother persuasion). One of these two people was married to my sister and the other to my brother. Both hurt my siblings, and by extension our whole family, in a huge way. These two individuals have minimal impact on our lives now, but they’ve been on my mind the past couple of days. Imagine that. Just when God is prodding me with the idea of forgiveness, dang it! But wait, it gets even better…

I was talking to my mother this afternoon (totally unscheduled call, we usually talk on Sundays and Wednesdays) and before the conversation was over – mainly we discussed the two high school graduations looming over us in the next two weeks – she totally brings up the two villains. AND ACTUALLY ADMITTED THAT SHE PRAYS FOR THEM – DAILY!!! Everyone who thinks that was a so-called coincidence, please raise your hand. Yeah, me neither…

God and I had already had our conversation so it really didn’t surprise me that Mom and I crossed the same turf. It also didn’t surprise me that she prays for them. That’s the kind of mother (person) she is. The woman needs a 27-hour-day just to pray for all her kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and friends of friends and all their stuff. It’s a wonder she has time in her schedule to talk to me twice a week with all that praying she does!

But, back to my point…forgiveness. I had already been thinking about trying the forgiveness thing that Anne describes. It would definitely be rough and raw but I was wondering how it would feel. Now I’m not saying I’ve arrived but I did start the process. See, if I believe that God loves me unconditionally, meaning that my behavior or performance cannot cause His love for me to increase or decrease, then I also have to believe that He loves the ex-in-laws exactly the same way. If I believe that God extends forgiveness to me for all my junk, then how can I withhold my pitiful little forgiveness from someone else? This is not an original thought by the way, check out Matthew 6:14, Colossians 3:13 and Mark 11:25, just to mention a few. So even though I’m trying to forgive a couple of people for something they did that only offended me indirectly, it has more to do with my relationship with God than my relationship with them. It’s not going to change the circumstances surrounding the betrayals or the consequences we all struggle with still. But I think it will increase my understanding of God and His character and hopefully some of that will become evident in my life. That’s the goal…for others to SEE God through me. WOW – what a concept. What do you think? The more we practice this type of forgiveness and unconditional love, do you think it will become part of our character? I kind of think that’s part of the Plan…


  1. Part of the plan indeed. Not an easy part, but a great "reflection of Him" part!!

  2. I just found your Blog in a link from your comment on, and I'm happy I did. What an extraordinary theme for a Blog! More of us who follow Jesus need to testify as to how God is with us, speaks to us, and is involved in our lives every single day! It's something I rejoice in, but it's not something I tell people on a daily basis.

    I applaud your courage, tenacity, and for your obvious passion for loving the Lord!