Growing Up Forgiven

I wrote the other day about the power of thanksgiving to transform our souls from within because that Thanksgiving expresses the faith that saves us through love (Galatians 5). Thanksgiving, believe it or not, is relatively easy. Especially if you compare it with what may be the next step in our spiritual maturity: forgiveness.

It’s an awful thing to be unforgiving. Even the movies show us how it rips us up on the inside. Failure or refusal or neglect to forgive takes an offense and secures it in our soul where it works against the Spirit, who labors to heal us.

“Unforgiveness” makes it almost impossible for us to receive forgiveness for our own transgressions*. We who don’t forgive others find it increasingly difficult to believe that others could forgive us.

I do not know how we can forgive if we do not have faith. God will avenge those who are martyred for His name. He probably won’t bother avenging me for being cut off on the highway. My guess is that I’m on my own on that one. But why do I not silently endure such grave insult? Received with gratitude and from a Christ-centered spirit, it is the means of my purification. I ought to give thanks to God and to the driver for such a great gift.

Perhaps forgiveness illustrates most vividly how he who is faithful in little is faithful in much. I remember, inartistically, the way Amy Carmichael wrote it in her book If. “If I allow slight offenses to disturb me, then I know nothing of calvary love.”

Christ could forgive us from the cross because He had been forgiving every slight and insult since he was a child. That is why He is the true revolution and remains the only hope for mankind.

I frequently astound myself with my insensitivity, my querulousness, and my spite. I need to be forgiven and I live in the light (I am tempted to say, the levity) of my family’s forgiveness. I am thankful for it. May I grow up to be forgiving as well.

Amy Carmichael

Image via Wikipedia

* Interesting side note: the Greek word for debts or transgressions in our Lord’s prayer is opheilemata, the root of the name Ophelia. A clue to Hamlet? I think so.

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