Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Allah Al-Ghaffur, Part II

Unforgiveness, you see, will eat us alive; its bitterness and unresolved anger will destroy us from within. Spiritually, unforgiveness is devastating – that’s what the parable is all about – torture isn’t too strong a word. We ask for God’s forgiveness for our sins, but cannot forgive others, so we block the flow of forgiveness in our lives, the ability to accept imperfection and fault and pain which we and others have caused to each other, to ourselves, to our world, and to God.

We stop God’s healing forgiveness from covering us like a balm.

But here’s the kicker. We can’t simply WILL to forgive someone. We just can’t. We tell our kids to do it, “Forgive your brother,” and when it comes to forgiving a whack on the head from a plastic truck, the kids manage to simply obey that command to forgive. But deeper wounds caused by greater malice -- betrayals, abuses, intentional harm – these are not things we can simply forgive by saying, “I forgive you...”

Even when we want to forgive the wrong, and we try, we find that our anger, and hurt, and bitterness keep surfacing requiring us to admit that we haven’t gotten there yet. The pain of the divorce, the desertion of a parent, the betrayal of a colleague, the infidelity of a spouse, evil inflicted upon our children by another – three words won’t make it all okay.

We want to be Christ-like and practice the forgiveness we preach, but it just doesn’t seem to take. Paul has summed up our human condition, “in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”

We want to bless those who have cursed us, but we find curses rising in our throats. We want to forgive trespasses in love, but hateful thoughts are flashing through our minds. We want to pardon fully and freely, but something deep within us calls for vengeance.

Now look again at... the quote from the Qur’an. When I pondered this verse this week, I had an “Aha” moment. At first, I didn’t see a connection between the first half of the quote: “And He alone is truly forgiving, all embracing in His love,” and the second half, “in sublime almightiness enthroned, a sovereign doer of whatever He wills.”

The first part seemed to be emphasizing God’s love and closeness to us while the second part re-asserted God’s might and distance from us. However, upon reflection, it dawned on me that to truly, perfectly forgive is an enormous thing, requiring a power that is nearly inconceivable, and then I saw that phrase, “a doer of whatever He wills”.

And maybe, in this instance, that’s the difference between God and us. Because it doesn’t mean, or he can do whatever he wants to in some arbitrary fashion, it means that, unlike us, God wills to do something and does it. As God’s will is to love, God loves and does not act in evil. As God’s will is to forgive, God does it; God pardons fully and lets it go and bears us no grudge...

by Sister Karen, BUT WAIT! There's more to come...


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