TITLE: Forgiveness as an Act - 10 July 2020
By Susara A Botes
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
Forgiveness as an act.
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is an act, not as in pretend but action that needs to be taken. It is also not as in an eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth; that would be revenge. Forgiveness is as important as in turn the other cheek, and walk away.
Is forgiveness man-made? Yes, it certainly is. It is what Jesus, the man from Nazarene (you will find him in the Christian Bible) has taught.
Forgiveness is an act of kindness; it is an act of being selfless; to not take offence. Perhaps easier said than done, after all we are only human, as they say. Once, when invited to a book launch at our local library there was a book, promoted by the author himself, with an intriguing title, ‘I’m only human is no excuse’. However, we let our emotions get in the way of focusing on the facts, and we react way too quickly. Most of our grandparents and their parents have always said: ‘count to ten before you react’, I add, ‘…, take a deep breath, then respond; walking away is also a response.’
Is forgiveness an emotion? No, but, it is mostly because of emotions, and if you analyse with a fine tooth comb then yes, always. How do you respond to the unkindness of another? Being the recipient will depend on your own emotional maturity and your strength in Christ. Best is to, then and there pray a silent prayer: ‘Father I choose to forgive him/her; I choose to forgive myself and let the matter go; it is now in Your Hands’. Then you let the matter go; water off a ducks back.
As the Father (through the teachings of Jesus Christ) has said: (loosely transcribed) I can only forgive you, when you have forgiven yourself; and others (Mark 11v25*). And, as you can see from that verse it works in a triangle. We believe in a Trinity God. See forgiveness as a triangle, connecting with the three corners, both ways. Furthermore Jesus can turn the error (sin) around to become a blessing for both. Forgiveness and the act of forgiving becomes a matter of: ‘To forgive is to overlook’. That is what Jesus has done for us. But first we have to acknowledge, see the error and learn from it. Jesus is the Great Guy who then overlooks the error.
Herewith a few pointers that may help with the process, the basics: what, how do you know, why, whom, when, how do you do, and where.
What do you need to forgive?
A wrong doing, a word, silliness, a practical joke that makes the recipient look like a fool (perhaps to you and others it wasn’t, but the receiver does not always see it that way).
How do you know you need to forgive someone?
When you feel bad and or guilty about how you have treated a person, or have said something unkind. Or you feel bad about a deed that you have done to someone; something bad said about a person, gossiping, back-biting or just plain bad thoughts about a person, whether it is true or not. Whether they deserved it or not; forgiveness is all about you.
Why…, so that your trespasses will be forgiven (Mark 11v26), and to live a good and fruitful life.
And, un-forgiveness and living a life with an unforgiving attitude and or spirit is an ugliness that develops, takes momentum and grows roots. Thus becoming anchors to slow you down or prevents advancement. It has the same effect as the limbs of an octopus, which is a predator, with all the suckers intact and active, seeking, lurking.
Whom do you need to forgive?
You need to forgive the recipient of your ill manners, unkindness, lies, or bad joke Etc.; starting with yourself.
When do you need to forgive?
The moment you realize your wrong doing (error/sin/trespass) you need to take action.
How do you do forgiveness?
By bringing the error or trespass into the open, into the Light. Acknowledging; admitting, the error is crucial as it brings you further in the path of redemption, and blessings, keeping you there. Discuss it with a person whom you can trust. It could be a counsellor, pastor, mentor, your parents, the person involved, and others if applicable. If possible, have a neutral person present. Do what you have to do; you or the counsellor or pastor will be led by the Holy Spirit through prayer.
The meeting should take place, preferably, in a safe and neutral place; such as at the office of a Christian counsellor or at the office of a pastor, your mentor at school or at church. It can also be in the home of the other person or your parents’ home with them being present.
When is it not necessary to reach out in forgiveness?
When you can truly and unaffectedly turn the other cheek, in other words no offence has been taken, walk away, never to think about it again. Whatever has happened or words spoken will not bother you, and will be of no consequence to you now or ever.
My experience of life has taught me there are very few people who can truly do that. I commend them, however for the rest of us we have to take the necessary action to forgive someone and to be forgiven.
As a re-born in Christ person we live in times of love, respect, loyalty and steadfastness. Firstly, to ourselves, then to our families, our friends, colleagues and all other people.
*“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses”. Mark 11:25 (ESV) Bible.com
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.