Saturday, 9 May 2009


I'm reading Braving the Storm by a chap called Eric Gaudion, a book about surviving suffering and illness. So far I would highly recommend it, clearly written, truthful and helpful.

The subject of forgiveness has come up, something I've been thinking about lately. He's actually defined forgiveness, which is something I hadn't thought to do. I was trying to do something without really understand what it was I was trying to do. Anyhow here is what he has written:

What is forgiveness? Here's a definition to think about. It is to treat the one who sinned as though they had not. And to choose never to remember the sin again. And as we remember how much God has forgiven us, then we will forgive others. But it's hard isn't it? Forgiveness is not natural. No; it is supernatural. Forgiveness is God's work and we need his help to be able to do it. Even if you forgive and fail, forgive and fail, you are still a forgiver.
Quite a bit to think about there. We can see at the cross just how hard it was for us to be forgiven, what Jesus suffered in order for us to be forgiven and also how important forgiveness is to God. For me forgiveness is going to mean trying and failing and falling flat on my face and getting back up and trying again and it can only happen by the grace of God and the Spirit of God in me. I don't take forgiveness lightly, it's a hard decision but ultimately it comes down to the sort of person I want to become. Do I want to become hard, bitter and twisted? Or grow in love, grace and closeness to God? Which one is going to bring me most peace?

The answer as to which I would prefer to be is a no-brainer. Facing up to the consequences of what these choices mean is somewhat harder. In a way it is not one choice, but hundreds and thousands of little choices, every time something happens that hurts me, what am I going to do? Spread grace or "ungrace" (as Philip Yancey calls it)? There is so much ungrace in this world, reverberating through families and communities for generations, I don't want to add to that. Lately when I've been at those "cross-roads" decisions that little question "grace or ungrace" has come into my mind and stopped me in my tracks. I pray that the Holy Spirit would keep helping me with these choices, because I can't do it on my own.

What Eric Gaudion has said in that quotation, about "forgive and fail, forgive and fail" is similar to faith in general, that faith is the trying to believe, not necessarily dependent on whether you always succeed 100%. If we could succeed totally by ourselves we would have no need of Jesus.

P.S. Eric Gaudion has his own blog:

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