When we say the Lord’s Prayer we always include the line, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. The forgiveness that we receive is a wonderful gift of grace but, as Marilynne Robinson, notes in her book Gilead, “To be forgiven is only half the gift. The other half is that we also can forgive, restore and liberate, and therefore we can feel the will of God enacted through us, which is the great restoration of ourselves to ourselves.” (Marilynne Robinson, Gilead, p. 161)
When you forgive someone, do you see it as a gift that you give not only to them and but also to yourself? I confess that often I do not. Rather I see forgiveness as an onerous duty that I must do because I am a “good” Christian. However, when I forgive reluctantly and begrudgingly than there is no joy in my heart and no gift for the other or for myself.
God does not begrudge us his forgiveness. When we come to him to confess our faults, he wraps us in his arms around us, holds us to his breast and whispers in our ears, “I love you. I forgive you. You are my child.” Forgiveness brings joy to God’s heart
When we forgive, we pass on the grace that we have received in Jesus Christ. That grace will not only heal the one who has hurt us, but it will also bring about our own joy. Thus forgiveness becomes a gift not only to the other, but also to ourselves. Forgiveness brings about the great restoration of ourselves to our selves.