Friday, 31 July 2015

The Importance of Forgiving

In this 21st Century we have lost something. An art form essential to true Christianity.

We have lost the art of Forgiveness.

I've said in other posts that we live now in a post-Christian society. Modern man-made moral values have superseded the values instilled for generations through intimate knowledge and relationship with God and we have seen society develop it's own Golden Calf to worship. There are so many idols to choose from, and the beauty of the lie is that they are so accessible. Go to youtube and watch some previously unknown "celebrity" having sex on tape. Follow Donald Trump on Twitter and see the inane and often insane rantings of a man seeking to control the largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. Yet these and others are idolised.

We have become a society of idol worshipers. And in idolatry there is no place for forgiveness of either others or self.

Christ and the entire Bible teaches the exact opposite. The rot set in during the reign of Regan and Thatcher. Self idolisation became the norm - forgiveness was for the weak and compassion was abandoned in favour of the pursuit of personal gain.

Forgiveness has been abandoned except where it serves self.

Christ's forgiveness didn't serve Himself. Forgiving the soldiers flaying the skin from His back didn't stop the whipping. Forgiving the men driving the nails through His hands and feet didn't stop the Crucifixion. Forgiveness in the Bible was a selfless act with no personal gain attached to it.

We as a world "forgave" Bill Clinton's adultery. George W's lies about Iraq. A plethora of lies are posted every day but the latest antics by Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan take the front page. There are wars going on now all around the world that the West had a hand in starting - then pulled out. But we forgive those leaders and sit back sympathising over our safe cup of coffee with the men and women living in terror that the next air bombardment will destroy their home or that ISIS may decide that having killed the doctors and the tailors that perhaps the grocers are next for not importing bananas for the ISIS troops.

But who cares? They're half a world away and we can forgive our "leaders" for their actions.

Look into your heart.

I am physically unfit to go to war. I'm too old to enlist at 43, despite being a marksman. I'm diagnosed with diabetes and have loss of sensation in my feet as a result. I'm not what the army wants.

Most of my ailments are self-inflicted. My sugar consumption as a young adult probably led to my conditions. And it's something I must forgive myself for. I have friends who have been on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have a dear friend who lives in Kurdistan. I cannot mobilise to help them or protect them because I did not look after myself years ago.

Forgiveness is essential. I have made peace with not going to war.

My brother was killed in a road accident I could have prevented when I was 13 years old.

Forgiving myself for that is something I have to work on daily. The last words I remember speaking to him were said in anger and I can never take them back. Self-forgiveness comes hard.

To forgive others we must first learn to forgive ourselves and see our life as Jesus sees it - guiltless because of His sacrifice.

It's the central tenet of Christianity. We can accept Christ because He died in our place and allowed the forgiveness of our sin in God's eyes.

That is the concept we need to grasp.

In God's eye's we are forgiven.

How dare we refuse to forgive ourselves if the only one we truly sinned against has died Himself to allow us to be offered His forgiveness.

Forgive yourself. It makes forgiving other so much easier.

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