Don Merritt posted a beautiful piece on Forgiveness: “Forgiveness is All About Love” – http://lifereference.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/forgiveness-is-all-about-love/
Don was ticking boxes. He does that a lot when I read his words of God.
And without any warning or invitation from me, I found a foundation stone of “all things God” moving quite alarmingly. Does that ever happen to you? In fact I was feeling a little queasy. Was this thoughts of me, lucifer, or Him. It was definitely my frequent companion called Doubt. Because the essence of these thoughts was: God does not forgive.
Let me just write that one more time – amidst the sensory stuff, the thought in my head was clear: “God Does Not Forgive”
My Paul Brain half expected lightning bolts. My God Brain continued twirling these thoughts. My Paul Brain so often doesn’t speak God Brain language. Which makes my Paul Brain very uncomfortable. And right then, as best as I was able … I was not able.
It was only after a very full and busy working day, a last minute “work” interruption to dinner, and an evening on the sofa watching tv, and some mind-numbing Candy Crush thrown in for good measure – only then had these two brains figured out one language.
The result was this …
In its truest form, Love does not forgive, has no need to forgive, has no concept of forgiveness. Because Love does not recognise a “slight” or “offence” or the long litany of slights and offences we can all recite so easily. Love in its truest form can not. Does not. Will not.
So if Love does not “need” forgiveness, then why is there so much Godly focus on that word? Because forgiveness is everywhere (like in the Lord’s Prayer kind of “everywhere”). Jesus taught us His preferred prayer and told us to say: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
And that is a true “of God” foundation stone if ever I saw one. There in black and white. Ask Me to forgive you. And you forgive others. Forgive and forgiveness. God does it to me, so I am to do it to you.
Yet still my God Brain insisted: “God does not forgive.”
And here is what took all day and evening to brain morph:
When I need to be forgiven – or when I need to forgive – that very “need” is a barrier to Love (and back came some very early thinking). Need is a transaction. It is a measuring – in this case – of a wrong. Either by me, or to me. And so long as that transaction is operative – then that very transaction, that very need, distances us from Love. Shorts out Love. Stops Love. Stops union and is just another barrier of our own making between Him and us. And the act of forgiveness … is our only way to remove this barrier. The very act of forgiving … is the only way we can un-distance ourselves.
Now I have always viewed God’s “forgiveness of me” as something He determines, that He hands out, that He gives me. That I do not deserve, that I cannot earn, and morphs so easily into “Grace Freely Given” … yet all the while remains – at a very deep and unacknowledged level – a deep-seated and lingering debt.
And looking at that dark corner of my soul – it is in the form of an “I Owe You” – and looking more closely – it is an IOU I keep refreshing. With a “Not collected – yet” attached to it.
And circling that bunch of wagons …
I find I often compensate for this “unspoken IOU” in praise and worship, fear and trembling, bowing and scraping, reverence and God-speak. Offsetting “the debt” without even acknowledging it. None of which really removes any barriers or distance. In fact the opposite. the reality is to lay and concrete-in some parameters for keeping a safe sliver from Him – no matter how wafer thin the sliver. Any sliver of distance is to be “distanced.”
And maybe God doesn’t dole out forgiveness from a God sized vat of forgiveness. Maybe Love in its truest form has no vat of forgiveness. There is no need – therefore there is no vat.
And maybe the act of forgiveness is us giving ourselves forgiveness. Because maybe it is the only way we can remove our own barrier to Love. It is our own mechanism for un-distancing ourselves from ourselves – and Love – and each other – and God.
My God Brain stopped there. My Paul Brain said thank you.
Because if you pursue the implications of “God does not forgive” … has no need to forgive … it unsettles quite a few other very reassuring foundation stones. Like in a “God just got a zillion times bigger and more incomprehensibly beautiful than the trillion incomprehensible beautiful HUGENESS He already was” kind of unsettling.
Because here I am with my Paul Brain, and here He is with His God Brain. And He thinks my Paul Brain can handle this stuff?
In Him we trust.
Because this small brain I carry around … He gave me that.
Hello wobbly foundation stones! 🙂