Forgiveness can be a funny thing and it has proven to be a difficult ask for humanity throughout the centuries. It’s a dichotomy in that it is something we expect, when we do something wrong, but struggle to do when others do wrong to us. In the purest sense, it’s all about love, without reservations!
If we turn to psychologists for the answer, we learn it is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. The word, forgiveness, comes from the Latin word perdonare, which means, to give completely, without reservations. If you are like most of us, we feel justified as a “good person” when we can deliberately forgive someone for making a mistake that hurt us once…but if they continue to do so, while knowing it will cause us harm or distress; that quickly become is a monumental ask!
The Good Book has the right answer from the Man himself.
Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother, when he sin’s against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”
Peter did not just pull the number seven out of the air. In ancient times, if you did a difficult or grueling chore seven times it was viewed as doing what you were supposed to do. Whether it was complete or not, you could rest at ease knowing you gave it your best.
However, when it comes to forgiveness, God expects more of us. The guidance he received is to continue to forgive those who do wrong, but he was not told to conform or agree with the wrong behavior. In the example of Peter and his brother, Peter was directed to never give up on the person. The goal was, and is, to help the person correct their problem without giving up on the person. This was true two thousand years ago and it is still true today.
What is different today, is the blatant forfeiture of morality. Forgiveness at this level, goes against human nature and morality can be tested when those you love do things you know are plain wrong. Modern society would have us change the wrong into a “right” so no wrong was done. Watch the news, you will see people allowed to openly steal from stores without retribution. Society is saying, it is okay to steal when clearly it is not. We must never confuse right from wrong in an attempt to justify need for forgiveness. Life doesn’t work that way.
Hand in hand with forgiveness is love. We are called to love the wrong doer without agreeing with their actions, and if their actions warrant just punishment; so be it. The most loving parents have to punish their children in an effort to teach good, acceptable behavior.
Sometimes, punishment is the best teacher.
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”