Sometimes life just sucks. It isn’t fair, and people are sometimes mean. We are misunderstood at times, taken for granted and even taken advantage of. It hurts and we want to either hurt somebody back or run and hide. We want to avoid everyone altogether or we want revenge and we want it right now!
We just celebrated one of the best holidays ever – Thanksgiving – where we spend some time reflecting on all we have been given, and are about to celebrate another where benevolence is expected of us. I find it interesting that we are supposed to focus first on gratitude and THEN on receiving. Most of the time we think of things the other way around; we will be thankful after we get something. This is not as it should be.
The same principle holds true for many other things, too…such as, if we want friends, we must first show ourselves friendly. Another truth is that if we want to experience forgiveness, we need to first forgive. Some think this is related to the Law of Attraction where we are to first put out in thought or deed what we want to get back, but before mankind coined that popular phrase, a spiritual law was recorded as "give and it shall be given to you.” Another lesson many of us have learned from nature itself is that we will reap what we sow. We cannot expect a harvest of corn if we don’t take the time to put those seeds into the ground! First we sow and then we reap. We sow forgiveness, we reap forgiveness. We sow grace, we reap grace.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore
come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace
to help in time of need.
Grace means to get something that you don’t deserve; unmerited favor. Mercy means you don’t get the punishment you deserve; compassion. Just as we believe we receive, we must also be willing to offer the same to others.
Grace and forgiveness go hand in hand. To understand what forgiveness is, it is important to consider what it is not. The act of forgiveness does not suggest you have forgotten the injustice. Nor does it imply you condone or excuse the wrongdoer. You are not condemning. When you forgive someone who has deeply hurt you, you let go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge. You give the gifts of acceptance, generosity and love. You give from a merciful heart.
We learn that as we give the gift of forgiveness, we ourselves are healed. Forgiveness is a choice that we can make just like the choice to be benevolent, to be kind, to be generous, or to be loving. Sometimes the feelings match the choice and sometimes they don’t. Either way, when we put forth the effort to forgive our debtors, trespassers, abusers, and so on, then when we need to be forgiven, we will be. Remember, we will reap what we sow. To that end, let us sow love, grace, and forgiveness – even when our feelings say that the person in question does not deserve it. Let the Power who has the authority to handle it take care of the details.
Let’s decide to finish out the year with grace and forgiveness – and ring in the new year with more of the same!