“And without faith it is impossible to please God...”
~Hebrews 11:6a (NIV).
Faith is behind just about everything of worth in this life, but what we have here is the faith of God to forgive people, who, without reservation don’t deserve our forgiveness, other than one fact—God forgave us for our sins; something we did not deserve.
“The moment when you understand, compassion is born in your heart. And now it is possible for you to forgive... not before that.”
~Thich Nhat Hanb.
Understanding this fact of correct and aligning—indeed reconciling—theology helps us surmount what has possibly previously been impossible for us. That act of forgiveness that we’ve held back, incapable of mustering, suddenly is made very easily; now we understand that if God can forgive us, we can forgive anyone—indeed, God says we should.
Why Is It Still So Hard to Forgive?
Answering this question might not be easy, but we can venture one answer that might apply generally. It answers the question with a question:
Do we really believe that God has completely forgiven us, and continues to completely forgive us?
Simple isn’t it. The theology here is simple. It presents the thought that if we know we’re forgiven—and we know something of the depths of that forgiveness; Jesus on the cross and the costs to God for our atonement—we find it much easier to forgive ourselves and others who might transgress. For we know something of this insurmountable compassion on the part of God to do such a thing.
This is a masterstroke for our truest salvation.
Sustainable Forgiveness Lives in the Faith-Set
I’m unsure if people could forgive with sustaining effect, from their hearts i.e. meaning it without a single condition, without faith. Faith is the answer. Christianity is the only religion that presents us with such a faith; God forgiving us via “grace”—the undeserved favour of the Divine to stoop and love us, unconditionally.
We also cannot forgive, with powerful effect, without being prepared to stoop to our transgressors and become equal to them again, enforcing no superiority of attitude of victimisation over them.
Connecting our sin and God’s atonement, we finally ‘get’ forgiveness; a wonderful and primary mindset for living.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: A paper from www.journeyfilms.com from the motion picture, The Power of Forgiveness.