PARADOXICAL

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 27 - The surprises of forgiveness

Since the topic is on forgiveness, which is a sign of deep love and deep conversion, I'm on a roll. I think I'm a fine one to talk about forgiveness, because I was forced to have a PhD on the subject. The sheer number of people I had to forgive and continue forgiving, and the reasons why!

The first principle of forgiveness I've learned is this: It's too impossible for me to forgive, given my resentful, vindictive nature. Only the grace of God could allow me to forgive. I realized this after being forced by necessity to submit my hatred for certain individuals in the past whom I couldn't find myself to forgive.

There are lot of other principles, which I have detailed here in this blog and in my main blog, but let me jump to something even more positive: forgiveness has its secret rewards.

I can't help but remember this officemate who offended me so just for being there near my breathing space. Why? I don't know if I was merely projecting my self-hate, but I didn't like almost everything about him. He was just so obnoxious, and I wasn't the only one who thought so. So when he did something to me and my friends in the office, which I thought was unfair, I was filled with hatred and resentment. I was already living in Christian community then, so I knew it wasn't right to stay stuck, but I was only human. I got hurt so much, so forgiveness  was not an option, until I thought to bring the matter to God. (I was too naive at the time to know that I should've brought the matter to God at the outset.)

God surprised me that I was able to humble myself by talking to the guy in a civil way despite lingering feelings of resentment. I came to the point that I was really able to forgive him that I came to a point where I could call him a close friend. God blessed our friendship with a lot of things. I hope he never gets to read this post, because I will have to write some giveaway information. This is the guy who introduced me to Les Miserables and other Broadway and off-Broadway plays (mostly wonderful musicals), certain black and white classic films, certain books, and other things.

This is a pattern I have observed with the people I used to hate whom I had chosen to forgive through the help of God's grace. Another guy, who I had to forgive seventy times seven times almost literally, introduced me to new books I had no idea existed, films, and things literary and artistic.

I have a relative, who is a reliable source of headache to me, whom I managed to forgive despite his annoying ways and manners, after I saw through his offensive tearjerking, manipulative stories. The guy, I realize, is so desperate, that's why he was resorting to shamelessness, and I was being too selfish to see it. I changed my cold treatment to a patient, forgiving one. Lo and behold: a miracle happened when he suddenly volunteered to find men who could help me do the long-delayed house repairs that are needed to be done ASAP -- all at minimal cost. (Just in time, a client paid me a relatively huge sum to cover part of the expenses.) What an unexpected reward. To quote a hackneyed quote, God indeed never allows Himself to be outdone in generosity.

On a global scale, I can't help but see the same pattern being played out on a global scale. Combined with an act of justice of a jubilee-year magnitude, an act of forgiveness can make the impossible possible. In this regard, the great American story of white emancipation of blacks, and the blacks' forgiving response to it, is a great inspiration, for it brought about further material and cultural progress for America, from Michael Jackson and all black musicians to Michael Jordan and all black athletes, and so on.

If we could just all forgive the unforgivable, the world will be a much better place. I hope and pray my writings from now on will tend toward the promotion of forgiveness and understanding, especially those hobbled by impossible impasses.

(Lord, please accept this humble offering. I just had to underline the word humble, because I can't even boast of my acts of forgiveness because I honestly couldn't on my own.)


Comments:
hehehe, hindi pa pala 'ko naka-comment dito. i find that (for me at least) forgiveness is a function of age. i was very unforgiving when i was younger, and kept grudges. as i get older i find it easier to just let go of hurts, parang life's too short to get stuck in those ruts. takes so much emotional energy. kasama na rin siguro at this time in my life i've been forgiven by God and others so many times, and i've come to appreciate the peace that forgiveness brings :) i like what you've shared here. some of the best friendships nga come from places of adversity din, even animosity. :)
 
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