One of the central tenants and concepts is forgiveness. Jesus teaches and models a forgiveness that is limitless. According to the Bible, you do not forgive up until a certain number of times and then write the person off. In fact, you do not count. You forgive endlessly, because you have been forgiven endlessly. Jesus teaches that each of us has a debt that we can not ever pay back and he absorbs that. He then says go and act the same way he has towards us. It is unbelievably radical concept and idea. To be able to not condemn your spouse, or sister, or friend or coworker over and over in your head, and instead release revenge and absorb the wrong. Wow…when I talk with people about this, they say “I want that, but it is SO TOUGH.” I agree. In fact, I would say without an enabling from the Spirit of God no one will consistently be able to practice this Christ-like forgiveness.
That said, I heard a talk yesterday that drove home a few key points about adopting radical forgiveness into your life. I thought I would pass on a few of the highlights that impacted me.
- Forgiving others is both crisis and process. It is crisis in that you have to come to a point where you say I am going to forgive this person. This crisis is huge. You need this moment. Process is the day to day of actually putting the forgiveness into practice. The process is rooted in the crisis. Forgiving people is not a one and done event. It takes both the crisis and the process.
- Crisis is the DECISION point. Process is where you actually LIVE to make it happen.
- When you are struggling with the process part, you need to go back to the crisis. Sometimes you have to go back to the point where you say “oh yeah, I said I was going to forgive that person.” You need to go back to the event.
- We must always remember the model of Jesus.