Monday, May 25, 2015

When Forgiveness Requires the Acceptance of the Unacceptable

LIFE requires of us some pretty crumby responses at times — responses all the same that are set on taking us to higher levels of maturity.
We will need to forgive people who we have bitterness towards. And that will inevitably involve a wrestle. The wrestle is real, but it’s not without its purpose.
We might be aware that pure forgiveness is a relational concept i.e. that there are two parties involved and forgiveness can precede reconciliation. And reconciliation doesn’t have to mean the restoration of situations the way they were. Sometimes it can be about restoring the relationship to a better, mutually affable result.
But inevitably we land in a situation where reconciliation — the way we want it — is impossible. The other person has died, they have moved away, or the other party doesn’t want to go there, etc. Sometimes we are the ones who don’t want to go there; and the other person might be the one seeking desperately to be forgiven.
What are we to do?
Acceptance is what we need to experience. And that’s a miracle to pray for; to find ourselves accepting what we cannot change:
God, give me the grace to accept the ugly parts of my relationships I cannot change.
Give me the courage to plunge into those parts of my relationships that can be changed.
And give me the wisdom to discern the difference. Amen.
Acceptance is never easy. If we think we are particularly gifted to accept those ugly parts of our relationships we cannot change, we should dearly praise God. Few are so gifted with such abounding grace. But we can believe that acceptance becomes easier as we nurture softness of soul.
Accepting what we genuinely feel is unacceptable is accepting it for the purposes of wisdom and for the hope of something new. There is a step of faith envisaged to break the deadlock.
Faith will see us through to attitudes of the heart we previously didn’t think possible.
Faith procures the miracle — the miracle that was there all along, just dormant. It required us to step.
When we believe God can help us accept the unacceptable, so we might move on, and so others might experience our Lord’s grace, we can expect God to give us that acceptance.
Accepting what cannot be changed is the wisdom of persons with an eternal perspective.
It’s wise to accept an imperfect relational outcome if it’s the best to be hoped for at this time.
The more we move forward, arm-in-arm with God, the more he will take us beyond the present constraints of our bitterness.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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