Exactly what is it and how do you know you have it (or have received it) and are extending it to others? Forgiveness is the releasing of an infraction or offense committed against us – the person. Forgiving the person for what they have done to hurt, demean, or destroy us. It doesn’t mean we forget because it’s not possible to forget the death of a loved one caused by another, or a rape, or when one is paying a debt owed by another which takes much time to complete. It is ever before you. But to forgive the person means you release yourself from being attached to them in a prison of the negative incident. They may still have to pay consequences – or not. They may never turn around and apologize or express remorse for injuring and turning your life upside down, especially if they themselves too have died or are mentally disabled, or just evil.
Forgiveness is more for the forgiver than for the forGIVEE. J The forgiven. If we find it difficult to forgive others more than likely we find it difficult to extend forgiveness to ourselves and to accept and receive forgiveness from others. From God. We cannot believe that God or others have truly forgiven us, and we apply that same mentality against others when they have offended us.
Whether we realize it or not, we keep ourselves in a perpetual state of trying to pay back or repay someone because of the wrong we’ve done, even if it’s just psychologically or at the subconscious level. And because we have this expectation of ourselves, we believe others have it of us as well, and thus it is how we roll: We carry inside of ourselves an expectation of others to eventually and somehow make restitution for the pain they’ve caused, even though we may have said verbally “I forgive you”. We expect the gods, the environment to turn on this person, not desiring for them to have the better life which we ourselves have been denied because of their choices against us.
We can only forgive to the extent that we have experienced forgiveness as our reality. When forgiveness has become my truth (and the truth, once it is known, believed and received can and will set me free) then I can give it to others, for now I have something to talk about, something to give. We can only give what we have, and we can only have what we’ve received, and we can only receive what we’ve been given. FORgiven. J
Jesus said “he who forgives much is one who has received a lot of forgiveness, and he who forgives little is someone who has not received a lot of forgiveness.” So it seems in order to be qualified for a lot of forgiveness you must be one who lives on the edge in some way. This doesn’t mean leading a fast and dangerous life-style on the physical side, but it can mean you are one who is not always careful about what you say about others, what you do with, for or against others. You just go and come in and through lives like tsunami-Katrina winds, or a bull in a china shop. You may smile coming and everyone is glad to see you, but sooner than later they realize they wished you had never entered their lives at all.
Eventually, when your tongue, feet, hands, and habits catch up with you and you look behind to see what a wrecking crew your life has been in the lives of others, if you have a heart, you will want to apologize and ask for forgiveness. A lot of forgiveness. J You will also want to first forgive yourself – release yourself from the prison of what you cannot change, but do what you can to make things better for those you’ve hurt (if this is possible) and for those you will meet in the future.
Many of us who have been raised in a tight Christian box were monitored ever so closely that we were not allowed to commit outward acts of sin without quick and harsh consequences. So because we developed a habit of “not sinning” – not hurting others but pleasing everyone we met – we did not have the need for forgiveness. Thus we for years did not develop our forgiveness muscles, and when we did commit wrong, we were the first to beat ourselves down to a pulp. Why? Because we did not know how to forgive, not even ourselves. In order to receive forgiveness one must first not only do something wrong, but he/she must know that they’ve committed a wrong.
Without this knowledge people continue hurting and destroying others without a conscience. However, many know right from wrong, but their consciences are seared to the point where they no longer have any mental or emotional feelings, and thus they can hurt and destroy without a fore- or second thought. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he wrote, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, . . .” I Timothy 4:1&2. [Emphasis mine.] If you’ve ever burned yourself while ironing you are familiar with the sizzling sound of flesh being fried, not to mention the hot burning pain. But then the injured place goes through a time of numbness as it heals itself, and if healing occurs in a healthy way, the feeling will return in good time. But if not, one could say that spot has been cauterized, and it’s as though it has been separated from the rest of the body where feeling remains.
This woman in the midst of men handling Jesus’ feet with perfume, tears and hair was an expert at making men feel good. Perhaps some of the men in the room were jealous to see her giving to Jesus what they felt belonged to them? “She never kissed my feet when . . .” “Humph, that’s the perfume she bought with the cash I paid her and she pours it on His feet?! The nerve of that . . .” Hmmm “What have you done for me lately?” 14 verses of the seventh chapter of Luke’s gospel are devoted to this spectacle and the reactions of the witnesses: Jesus forgiving the gross, horrible, social sins of a woman (of all people for Him to forgive. Well “they” need it the most, don’t we? Hmmm).
She breaks a year’s worth of wages from giving her body away to ungrateful men who would not offer her a retirement plan or dental insurance, and they get upset because . . . But Jesus said to them about themselves, and I summarize – “when I came into your house you didn’t give me any water so I could wash My own feet, you did not greet me at the door with a bisous bisous, and you did not anoint my head with perfumed oil. But this woman in YOUR house Mr. Simon the Pharisee (Mr. Religious Person, Mr. Holier-than-thou, Mr. Pastor, Mr. Deacon, etc.) has washed My feet with her tears (she put her face and lips on My dirty feet), and wiped them with her own hair (not a wig, but her real hair), and she anointed My feet with fragrant oil. And by the way, since you disapprove of her so much, how did she get in here, your house Simon, in the first place? Do you know her Simon?” And now I quote, “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Luke 7:36-50
The Worst Sinners make the best lovers when they truly are transformed by the Lord of love. Now I’m not saying to go out and live the worst life you can so Jesus can forgive you of 100,000 sins. Not at all, for you would destroy your life and others for nothing, if you’re reading this message (and if you’re not). J The point is first of all, we all need forgiveness because we are born in sin after Adam. Therefore we need to learn and understand what this means and the depth of God’s sacrifice for us on the cross. When we truly meet this truth and embrace it, and allow it to consume us, we will realize that we have been forgiven much. John 8:31-32.
However, God has already made provision for our 100,000+ sins (per person, per day, week, month, year, etc.) and He is willing to take the chance on letting us sin again and again until we “get it” and get it good – His love and forgiveness. And when we finally get it, like this woman, not only will we lavish it back onto Jesus, but we will be able to truly give it to one another. Real forgiveness cost Jesus His life and soul on the cross and an eternity in hell (oh yes, go find out what that means. It will blow your unforgiving mind.) so He well knows how difficult it is to be forgiving – to live a life as the forgiven and the forgiving forgiver. Thus He also knows how important and powerful it is, and that is why He paid the ultimate price to first forgive us of our sins before we were ever born, and before we would ever hear about Him and decide “yes” or “no” to this “Jesus Christ” as Savior and Lord of our lives, and then secondly empower and command us to extend forgiveness to one another.
I did not know the depth of my forgiveness for others until I saw how shallow the pool of forgiveness I was swimming in for, and towards myself. I’ve been told that it’s best to learn how to swim at the deep end of the pool for after all, one can still drown in just two inches of water and sustain a hefty bump on the head. Now where's the fun in that? So, let’s jump in.