June 10, 2002
      I wrote "forgoven" on purpose, because, well, I suppose I have time to tell you. I went to a retreat with my campus fellowship group, and on the dining hall wall there was a quilt that that had a bunch of random verses on it, one of them being "forgive and be forgiven."  My friend Ian and I spent our meals trying to have conversations using the verses on the quilt. Our favorites being, "go to the ark with your family" and "morning stars sing together."  After being home for a while, we still make eachother laugh bu quoting these verses. One time he said "Forgive" and I said "and be forgoven."  I sounded like person trying to speak correctly who can't, so we got a big kick out of my mistake.

      Hopefully you'll forgive my crazy intro to this "thought" contribution.  Forgiveness is something that I have thought alot about in the past few days, and I'd like to share some of these thoughts with you.

     Lately I have had an experience with forgiveness that was pretty mind bending.  After an indepth discussion with a friend about abuse, I came to the realization that I had been hurt pretty intensely by someone, and I was weighed down by a lot of suppressed anger and guilt.  For the next few days I walked around feeling like a victim, with no clue what to do about it.  Then I realized that I needed to forgive.  It was strange, because I had to face the fact that I was carrying around anger towards a person, and I prided myself on the fact that I was pretty happy with everyone. When I would hear sermons on the Lord's prayer, I would smile at the part about forgiveness. "I have no trouble with that, I thought.   But at this point, the weight was clear.
      Soon after I realised what I was carrying around, God put me in a situation where I'd have to face that person.  That morning, before I started my day, I literally knelt at the Lord's feet and prayed forgiveness.  And it was no joke, the weight was lifted and I felt complete freedom, a feeling I hadn't felt in a long time.  As a result, facing the person that day was no problem. But it wasn't just that, I was filled from head to toe with a sense of purpose, another feeling I haven't had in quite a while. 
     My role, as a UM student, as an actress, and certaintly as a believer is simple: To love my neighbors.  And after forgiving, that was very clear to me.  Everything I do in interaction with people should be done out of love.  It doesn't mean I have to be nice all the time.  Sometimes loving someone is not an act of kindness as much as it is an act of truth (like, turning down a date with someone you know you don't have mutual feelings for.  Yeah, you have to hurt the person, but leading someone on is the opposite of love.  That doesn't mean you don't give them a chance... you know what I mean :P).         Forgiveness plays a huge part in the top laws of being a believer, "Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor."  Without forgiveness you can do neither.  When someone hurts us, the pain remains with us, coming out in the form of unrecognizable bad fruit, and will continue to do so until we are cleansed of this sin.  Only God can do the cleansing.
      So forgiveness is more than a nice thought, it's an action that involves going to the Lord.  I noticed that revealing to him through prayer all the abusive pain I was carrying around in the form of a grudge helped me to see what I needed to forgive.  Then I asked God to help me to forgive these things.  Many times prior I had told myself I forgave the person, but really I was just putting the pain on the back burner.  I didn't realise that I needed God to forgive.
      I am most amazed at the stories of David when he let his enemies free upon the opportunity to rightfully kill them.  "I'll leave them to the judgement of God" he says. "I don't want your blood on my hands."  This takes an incredible amount of faith to do, as it generally takes faith do do anything Jesus tells us to do.  I see what David is doing as forgiving.  It's handing over the weight of judgement to God, and freeing ourselves up to love. 
      But how can we forgive those who abuse our minds, those who commit rape, murder, or even terrorist acts?   How can it be possible?  It must be possible, because Jesus tells us to do it.  But it must be only possible with the help of God, because Jesus rarely tells us to do anything that doesn't bring us close to Him.

     So, though I've always seen the importance of asking God to forgive my sins, I needed to be reminded of why we need to forgive others. I hope you were reminded, if you forgot.  Forgive, be forgoven, and be free to love your God and your neighbors.
Forgive, and Be Forgoven
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