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FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS
It is one thing to moralize from distant lofty perches, and with detached poise about the well populated minefields of forgiveness. It is altogether a different thing to tread the darkened, dingy subterranean catacombs, or be singed by the volcanic embers of offenses which must be forgiven; and you are the forgiver.
I recently watched parts of a television presentation on the subject of forgiveness. It detailed unspeakable crimes perpetrated upon humanity; and featured the views of the offended and the offender. Views from credible sources, were shared on forgiveness that never before entered my mind. So deep were the offenses at times that some victims, although traumatized and scarred in all aspects of their triune beings, thought it sacrosanct to offer forgiveness to the offenders. They the survivors reasoned, they cannot aptly speak for the now deceased whom they survived. How can anyone speak for the dead or know their thoughts or begin to feel their sorrow. At times it was hard to tell which evil deed was worse, but one stands out in my mind as having little challenge by comparison. The fathers’ throats were cut, and their children made to drink their blood before they were later hacked to pieces. This is where evil walk among men; and have hands and feet and eyes, and speaking mouths. They seek not just to slay a man, but to utterly mar and deface the image of God.
On the day a man decides to gender an offence against his fellow-man; he declares truly he know not what he does. An offense gendered has ponderous weight that no judge upon earth, but heaven only can tell. It spans an eternity and requires an eternity to be requited, for it is an offense gendered against the Almighty. An offense is a sword drawn not against man but against the Almighty, and the offender shall have exactly an eternity to make restitution.
On the day we cease to forgive, it is on that day we sever a vital covenant with our life: by another name, the Almighty. Death has a sting; it is sin, and one thousand percent fatal without that remedy which is with God. An offense is a wound we suffer, and unforgiveness is an infection added to that wound which makes it fatal. The infection is of more grave consequence that the wound, for the infection in this case, unforgiveness makes it a fatal wound; and you are the fatality. The day you deny forgiveness to your fellow-man, you may no more obtain forgiveness from God, thus you retain without remedy the sting of death and must die.
Our views on forgiveness often is very revealing of our tenuous grasp of the all consuming reality of God, and the consequences that this reality of God bodes for our live. If you choose to hold on to your anger, you declare your anger more important than your brother. Apply whatever euphemism you like; when you do not forgive, you make unforgiveness a god to you. Instead your body being the temple of God, it becomes the living embalmment of unforgiven sin, having no release. God hides it not, but plainly declares; forgive your brother or I cannot forgive you. It is only a matter of time until you will need forgiveness and cannot obtain such forgiveness from God. It comes down to a choice between God, or unforgiveness.
Such is the insidious nature of offenses; it seeks to separate between God and men. As certain as sin separates, unforgiveness facilitates in your person the sins that will separate from God. When a bee stings you it leaves it sting in you.
The decision to remove it is an academic exercise. If it hurts, it’s all the more reason to expedite the process. They who forgive much, love also much. With wisdom comes much sorrow. Our capacity to forgive is the measure of our capacity to love. No greater love do men have than to love his enemy.