It is ironic how the thing that we often view as the “worst possible” circumstance or outcome or situation we may find ourselves becomes the thing from which the greatest milestones are made.
I very recently came to the point in which I couldn’t promise even myself that I wouldn’t take actions to harm myself. For me, looking into the future is a dismal exercise; yet, it is the future that I most always look toward and plan for. More often than not I see nothing but emptiness, darkness, a vast nothing that is more than overwhelming. Other times I see a pitiful existence that is one of isolation and loneliness. And then, like brilliant rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds, I get a glimpse of the life that God has laid out for me; a life worth living.
Which brings me to it; the event that allowed me the “time” and “place” to be in a position to look at my situation and affliction through the Father’s Eyes. On friday of this week I had another attempt on my life. This time I was resolute; determined to make this one the last attempt and first Success. It seems God had other plans. Somehow, I managed to gain enough composure and rational thought to call my therapist as I was on my way to the hospital. I was driving myself to the E.R. She was concerned about the cut on my wrist and whether the bleeding was severe. I assured her it wasn’t. After many hours and tests and doctors and blood work and recounting what I’ve been struggling for the millionth time; it was decided that I be admitted to the inpatient psychiatry ward of Tripler Army Medical Center. The outcome was that i FINALLY received adequate psychiatry care and proper meds that actually help.
The turning point for me though was not the docs or the meds, it was when the chaplain came to run one of the group sessions. This chaplain however, was an islamic Chaplain. He decided to speak on the topic of forgiveness. AWESOME! Then he asked two questions; the first, whom does forgiveness serve and second, am I worthy of forgiveness. And here is where our thinking diverged. His claim was that forgiveness serves the receiver and that we are born ‘noble human beings’ and ARE worthy of forgiveness. Ok…the forgiveness serves the reciever i can sort of go with that as an explanation, but that leaves out one of the most important, in my opinion, in all of scripture…and that is to every truly experience anything in life you must first give it away. The greatest example is John 3:16; for God so LOVED the world that He GAVE his only begotten son….” True Forgiveness; that which keeps no record and holds no grudge….TRUE forgiveness is FOR the GIVER. If frees the giver from all the negative aspects of being wounded carry…fear, anger, depression, etc. I turn to the story of Joseph for the greatest example of a man whom had every reason to hold a grudge and been justified in doing so, yet, chose to look at the course of his life as necessary for the salvation of his whole family.
“You intended to harm me, but God meant it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
But as for you, ye thought evil against me,…. That must be said and owned, that their intentions were bad; they thought to have contradicted his dreams, and made them of none effect, to have token away his life, or however to have made him a slave all his days: but God meant it unto good; he designed good should come by it, and he brought good out of it: this shows that this action, which was sinful in itself, fell under the decree of God, or was the object of it, and that there was a concourse of providence in it; not that God was the author of sin, which neither his decree about it, nor the concourse of providence with the action as such supposes; he leaving the sinner wholly to his own will in it, and having no concern in the ataxy or disorder of it, but in the issue, through his infinite wisdom, causes it to work for good, as follows:to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive; the nation of the Egyptians and the neighbouring nations, as the Canaanites and others, and particularly his father’s family: thus the sin of the Jews in crucifying Christ, which, notwithstanding the determinate counsel of God, they most freely performed, was what wrought about the greatest good, the salvation of men.
So, while forgiveness, real, genuine forgiveness will have transitory effects which will flow to the receiver; it is FOR the Giver. It frees them up to go about doing the business of the father and get what needs to be done accomplished.
There is so much more to it than that simple explanation. I highly recommend reading the book “Total Forgiveness” by Pastor R.T. Kendell.
Now, as to the issue of the worthiness of Forgiveness. To claim that one is automatically worthy for forgiveness is entirely ludicrous. The very idea of forgiveness implies that there is a NEED to be forgiven, which further implies that an act, thought, word or even emotion fundamentally caused another or oneself harm. But, all this is in regards to choices we are faced with. Worthiness of forgiveness for “original sin”, if you want to call it that, is another thing all together. To be forgiven for a STATE of BEING is another animal all together. We are not WORTHY for a perfect, righteous and Holy God to pardon us for going and doing the one thing He told us not to do; in my mind I call that betrayal and disobedience. i didn’t commit the crime but still suffer the affects of that decision. And, I am not worthy for God Almighty to take on flesh and suffer and die as payment for my sin. That is what makes forgiveness such a beautiful thing. God did not allow His son to die for us, He allowed Christ to die for himself. Jesus didn’t die FOR us, He did so FOR God.