Though difficult to grant, the concept of forgiveness seems simple enough. A debt removed and a relationship restored.
Yet because of such things as failing to see the mercy of God fully in Christ’s cross work; measuring the sin of others on a different scale than our own; going through an awful, abusive circumstance; or working out forgiveness in unwise ways that can even be contrary to gospel principles, we do not experience nor reflect the depths of forgiveness and love that God intends us to know. Here are three great links to help.
David Murray – In this post entitled “Let’s Stop Forgiving Those Who Don’t Want Forgiveness,” we learn of the reflective discernment that is needed when we are faced with tragic circumstances and the steps we should conscientiously move through to seek reconciliation.
Portraits of Reconciliation – Via Tim Challies, here’s an incredible article by the NYT telling stories of forgiveness taking place in Rwanda following the 1994 genocide, with photos of victims with their persecutors. The introduction states there are “degrees of forgiveness,” meaning it takes time and hard work in order for trust to be rebuilt, and illustrates well the lessons in Dr. Murray’s post above. (This movement in Rwanda, with its Christian roots, has been captured in a powerful documentary entitled As We Forgive).
Corrie ten Boom – These other articles reminded me of one of my favorite stories of forgiveness from the life of this Nazi prison camp survivor. In a Joseph-like way, she describes the true heart struggles that took place when she met one of her and her sister’s former prison guards.