Forgiveness

My Bible study group were talking about forgiveness today. Jesus commanded us to forgive others and reminds us of the huge amount that God has forgiven us (Matthew 18:21-35).

I have been thinking about forgiveness today. What is it exactly?

I don’t think that forgiveness is just a feeling. I don’t actually believe that God ever commands us to have particular feelings about things because feelings are unwieldy and elusive. God doesn’t want us to have a place in our heart for people, He wants us to do something with our hands.

So, what does forgiving look like?

It’s obvious what it looks like when we forgive our friends or our spouses. That means continuing to show the same affection and, if necessary, fixing the problem together rather than leaving them to ‘stew in their own juices’. Admittedly, there are times when it’s easier to see what forgiveness would look like than it is to forgive. But, at least there is little ambiguity there.

 

What does forgiveness look like when you forgive your children? It’s my job to teach my children the right way to behave. So I can’t just forget their actions and move on. Sometimes I try and help them make amends. But that isn’t always practical. When I set a consequence for bad behaviour, am I failing to forgive? Would that be such a bad thing? I suspect that my relationship with my children has more than enough consequences. Maybe a bit more grace and forgiveness would do us all good!

What about acquaintances, though? I am frequently irritated by people I barely know. What does it mean to forgive them? I certainly shouldn’t tell them ‘I forgive you’. That just sounds rude! I guess it’s the same as with loved ones in a way: continue to show the same affection.

Maybe forgiveness is just about carrying on, not letting other people’s actions deflect me from my attempts to love others (in an appropriate way). So forgiveness is just continuing to love in the face of irritation.

Love is also not a feeling, but a set of actions. Being patient and kind, not envying or boasting, not getting angry all the time, rejoicing with but not laughing at, not keeping track of other people’s faults. Which, of course brings us (via Galatians 5:22) back to forgiveness. Well, that pleases me.

My Blogging Intentions

Before I commence blogging, I will state my intentions.

I am an adoptive mother, the author of Living with Infertility. I want to write about therapeutic parenting, faith, writing and trying to publicise my books.

Before I was a published author, I imagined that getting published was the aim. I now realise that it’s just the beginning! Selling books is hard. So I want to share my journey of trying to publicise my book, and trying to get another commission.

When my husband and I were being assessed to adopt we imagined that once our child came home, the adopting part of our lives would be over and we could get on with parenting. Now I know that it takes years for children to fully come home. We’re still adapting and still adopting! So I want to share a few aspects of being an adoptive mother, hopefully without sharing too much of my children’s lives.

Finally, I want to share something of my own relationship with God. I try to see everything through the lens of my knowledge of God; but I also know that I only see God through the lens of my experiences of life. I want to write about what I learn about God.