Friday, January 29, 2010

Forgiving God

Forgiveness is a process that begins within. As with confession and repentance, the heart must be changed for true transformation to take place. Sometimes we struggle to make our actions start us on the path of forgiveness, and that can help, but it is only when the heart is truly transformed that life-giving forgiveness happens.

Transformation of the heart begins with God. As in so many other aspects of our spiritual growth, we learn and grow only because God has loved us first and we are responding to that love. As we grow in our relationship with God, our relationships with self and others grow as well. We thrive on God’s grace. As we experience God’s forgiveness, we have the process of forgiveness modeled for us. As we live out the fruit of being transformed by being forgiven, we realize the power of forgiveness and the value of extending it. Everything we know about life-giving forgiveness we know because we have received it from God. The grace of God’s forgiveness flows through us into our relationships and our world. It is a powerful process. Our experience of God’s grace and love is a strong foundation upon which to build a practice of life-giving forgiveness. Without this foundation, our attempts at forgiveness will be distorted.

Somewhere along this journey of learning to forgive, many experience the need to forgive God. The other day, I spoke with a young man-only eleven years old- whose father was dying. He spoke of the feeling he had that God was far away. He wanted to know why God would let his father die. He struggled to reconcile his life situation with what he had been taught about God and God’s love. Every one of us must confront this same dilemma of evil at some time in life. Perhaps our exploration of this question invites us into moments of both grief and anger. If we are honest with ourselves, mustn’t we admit that God is the Creator and the buck stops there? There really is no good explanation for why there is evil in our world. We are left with our feelings and our wonderings, not sure if we dare to blame God. I think that before we can begin to praise God for the glory of creation, we must forgive God for the ugliness in creation. It’s OK to be angry with God: God can take it. We beat God’s chest and scream our pain and hurt. God simply embraces us in love. We are forgiven for needing to forgive God. God knows our struggle to understand and knows how impossible it is for us human beings to truly grasp the nature of creation. Perhaps God accepts our forgiveness and forgives us as we offer it. The question of evil loses its grasp on us and our hurt and anger is eased. And in the process we have learned something about life-giving forgiveness. Now we are truly ready to begin the practice of forgiveness.

For more on life-giving forgiveness, go to and sign up for our Life-giving Forgiveness online retreat beginning Feb. 17th.

1 comment:

  1. This was a big struggle for me in my journey to peace with God