Friday, 29 June 2012

Bankers, handshakes and the heart of forgiveness

Whether it's HSBC or Barclays money traders, the Queen and Martin McGuinness, John Terry and Patrice Evra.....
Payday delay chaos, immoral work ethics, empty gesture handshakes, or no handshake at all - it seems the whole world has someone to forgive!


Everyone has all kinds of issues in life. Forgiveness, or the lack of it, is one of the universals we all face. To qualify for forgiveness issues, we simply have to live for long enough - it won't be long before someone hurts you, inadvertently or deliberately.

Like it or not, we will also hurt others in the same way. Mostly we seem to stumble through life oblivious to the trail of damage we leave in our wake - like the old boy who drives the wrong way up the one way street, shaking his fist at all those who seem to be against him, unaware of the carnage that a glance in his rear view mirror would reveal!

What are we to do with the accumulated pile up in our rear view mirror - that done to us and by us? Whatever sweet pill of self actualisation Psychologists would help us swallow, we can't change our past. We're all living with the accumulated consequences of other peoples sin in our lives. The only real choices we have, are to endure it all under the bondage of bitterness, or cut it off through the freedom of forgiveness.

Forgiveness really is that powerful an action, and it is a stark choice for all of us that have been the wrong way up the one way street of life. I deliberately call it a choice, rather than a decision that we make to forgive once we feel like it. Fact : We will never feel ready to forgive, but we can all choose to forgive.

This deep and liberating choice for forgiveness is found ultimately by humbling ourselves before the God who took the forgiving initiative with us. Whilst our backs were turned and we stumbled through life without reference to Him, He offered Himself to cover completely all our wrongs and debts. Before we even knew we needed it, He wrote a cheque to cover a fine greater than even Barclays can pay!

This Christ like attitude can be ours towards others if we will first lay ourselves down at His feet. In His pattern and likeness, a new people emerge on an unforgiving planet - Those who forgive much because they themselves have been forgiven even more!

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