Day 10 – The Starting Point of Forgiveness

(note: the photo with this article is my wife and our daughter, not the nephew I mention)

We have photos at our wedding with our nephew, who was 6 or 7 weeks old. Later on when we were babysitting him, Terry commented while staring into his eyes and taking him all in, “he’s just so innocent”.

With my newly minted theological degree I corrected her, “Actually, no, he was born into sin, so he’s not innocent.”

I was NOT popular 🙂

For today’s discussion, it really doesn’t matter if you think we are born sinful or become sinful, the truth of the matter is that by the time we need to forgive, we’ve already crossed that line anyways. By then we’ve had all kinds of angry outbursts, selfish ambitions, and direct disobedience.

So we’ve all sinned.

Doesn’t mean we’ve all done heinous things or anything. Just means that we’ve all screwed up, done wrong, and know what that’s like.

(This isn’t going to be a club to beat you with though.)

Yes, since we’ve been forgiven, we should also forgive.

Yes, since we’ve wronged others, we should also empathize with those who’ve wronged us.

Yes, yes.

Yet those ideas or commands or laws, if you will, don’t inspire forgiveness. They demand it, but don’t inspire it.

Well, maybe enough for smaller crimes but not for the bigger ones.

Because there’s a missing step between “Should” and “Want to”.

>> And that’s not even fully right.

In my journey, I found even that wanting to wasn’t necessarily enough. At times I just wanted to be rid of the ache, the soul-sucking bondage to these events that I couldn’t get over.

As much as I’d rehearse the reasons to forgive, and as much as I wanted to get past the haunting pain, it wouldn’t just go away at my command. I could chant all day long “I forgive” and it wouldn’t have mattered. My stomach and my mind would not let it go that easily.

But, the starting point is still knowing 2 things:

  1. The right thing to do.
  2. We’ve all sinned.

So that’s why I bring it up. Without that starting point, you’re lost before the journey’s begun.

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  1. I had to have an experience with Jesus’s love before I could really forgive the past. I prayed and asked God to help me then stepped forward in obedience. I am still having trouble with forgiving ongoing harassment from neighbors. But I am trying, again and again. It will come. Praise God.