Tuesday, August 12, 2008

another way of looking at forgiveness?

I guess most of us who would call ourselves Christians have at one time or another prayed a prayer asking God to forgive us for something.
And by that we normally mean something like "I have been wrong. This wrongness counts against me. Please take this wrongness away so that it doesn't count against me anymore".
And there's probably not a lot wrong with that way of looking at what it means to be forgiven by God.
But this morning I was thinking about this subject again and it occurred to me that there is another way of looking at what it means to be forgiven that might be more helpful.
And it relates to an understanding of forgiveness as healing.
Let me use an example. If I am unkind towards someone and I recognise it and ask God for forgiveness, what I'm actually doing is not so much asking God to rub out a black mark against my name, or to let me off the hook as it were, but to touch and heal whatever it is inside of me that makes me act unkindly towards that person.
I need to be forgiven.
I need the things in me that stop me living fully as a human being to be put right within me.
If the roots or the inner life is good and whole then the branches and the fruit will be good too.
Is that a more helpful way of thinking about what forgiveness is?

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