Being Forgiven: (speech, 1994)
I had a nasty feeling that today’s topic was going to be on forgiveness … just because of some stuff going on at the moment – people I’ve forgiven for one thing, but behaviour since is very hard to forgive… trying to find the balance between forgiveness & not lying down like a doormat/standing up for justice – sigh = not straightforward! In the last week I’ve talked to Stephen Cherry about his book Healing Agony: Re-Imagining Forgiveness, as we may run some webinars, etc. for #bigbible. Book blurb as follows:
One of the most profound challenges a human being can ever face is how to forgive in the aftermath of injury, hurt or violation. Healing Agony explores the theology of forgiveness alongside a number of contemporary forgiveness stories in order to glean insights for those facing just this challenge. While God’s forgiveness is revealed to be a simpler matter than is sometimes imagined, forgiveness between human beings is shown to be far more difficult, enigmatic and open-ended. This book offers a map of the rugged terrain that victims of serious harm, or those who seek to accompany them, will need to navigate if they embark on the venture of trust we call forgiveness.
I’m also friends with someone who works with The Forgiveness Project , and good to talk, but still a little jumpy after a Christian event (few years ago) where I was told “If you say I forgive, it will happen” – not convinced it works like that … especially if don’t feel is responsibility taken/repentance…
Today’s reading is helpful, and it feels right to stand out/pray for a little more, so, again, I am going to type out in full:
In forgiving we are still in control, “I forgive you.” But to be forgiven by you means first of all I have to say, “I’m sorry. There is something that I didn’t do for you.” That is hard and puts me in a vulnerable position, in a dependent position. I have handed you over to suffering… Somehow I have failed you. I am sorry I failed you. I am sorry that I wasn’t the kind of mother, or father, or friend, or brother, or sister, or neighbour, whatever that I wanted to be. Can you forgive me? It is not just asking the individual. It is having the ability to say “God, can you forgive me?” Can I be open to forgiveness? Then your heart can move from the hardened heart to the heart of flesh.
So, that’s more about being forgiven – and naturally, we have many things – small and large, we should ask forgiveness for …
Forgive Us Our Sins: Luke 17:3-4
Sin; Rebuke; Repentance; Forgiveness
We may still not understand, and therefore we must forgive …
Prayer: Forgive. Ask forgiveness. “Let us see your face shine out of the countenances of all peoples.”
Advent Action: Ask forgiveness of another (usually done it quicker than that, I think!). “Let each person you meet today leave your presence a happier person.”
Off to check out Pam’s post…
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.