Friday, 16 November 2012

Eye Exam

If you have ever had your eyes examined you may recall that the doctor tried having you look through different lenses to determine which lens provided the greatest clarity for each eye.

I realize that many of the people I deal with have a difficult time forgiving those who have inflicted past and/or current wounds.  Winston Smith, in his book Marriage Matters  describes the feeling as in “the darkest moments of hurt, you may look inside of yourself to find some help in forgiving and feel that you’re hunting for water at the bottom of a dry well. When you’re consumed by your own hurt, where does forgiveness come from?” The “go-to” Scripture reminds us that each of us has been forgiven much.

Furthermore Smith writes “Our ability to forgive comes from appreciating and living out of God’s forgiveness. If you don’t yet understand how much you’ve been forgiven, just remember that your forgiveness required the death of God’s own perfect son. When you appreciate and live out of the joy and gratitude of God’s forgiveness, it becomes easier to forgive others.”

“Bestowing forgiveness isn’t about looking inside yourself to find an appropriate emotional response; it’s about focusing on God’s love and grace and asking for the ability to pass it on to (the one you need to forgive).”

For those who have a strong “vertical connection” i.e. have been able to really internalize the love of God and truly appreciate, as best a human can, God’s sacrificial act this Scriptural reminder is enough to enable us to extend forgiveness in the most grievous of situations.  This is one potential lens through which you can view forgiveness, one which I would call the “thankful” lens.

There at least two additional lenses that might enable you to see the wound you have received in a less distorted way.  One such way is to accept that Matthew 6:14-15 is one of the most disturbing passages in all of Scripture, at least for me.  For what it says to me is that if I am unwilling to forgive my brother /sister in Christ that God will not forgive me.  I would call this lens the “Scare me out of my wits” lens.
The final lens might be called the “it’s all about me” lens.  Which when taken at face value appeals to most of us.  This approach suggests that failure to forgive will most likely manifest itself in a physical and/or psychological problem for the one who is unwilling to forgive.  It is referred to Biblically as a “root of bitterness.”

The final lens provides a “painful but helpful” view of your situation.  Assume that God is trying to get your attention.  What valuable lesson does he want you to learn from the pain that has been inflicted on you.

Hopefully one of these lenses will work for you.

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