Forgiveness comes up with some regularity in the Bible. Did God forgive Nebuchadnezzar for sending those three into the fiery furnace?
In the Psalm we ask God for guidance, assistance and mercy. Please forget my sins! In the verses from Matthew, Peter asks Jesus, “How shall I forgive someone who sinned against me?” The answer is forgiveness must be genuine and boundless. I find this helpful with everyday misdeeds; how to avoid needless and exhausting anger or resentments. Forgiveness is also letting go, relinquishing pride and asking for mercy. I am reminded of an article by psychoanalyst Emmanuel Ghent on surrender as faith in action. And how impressive was the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission! I am still amazed at the words and actions of those who saw their only route was to forgive and move forward.
In Her Own Time is a collection of essays about women’s life cycle changes and how forgiveness is a process and can take time. Healing can have many stages, and forgiveness is not always the first stage. When looking at some of the very big wrongs in the world, such as violence against women, the author Christie Cozad Neuger says, “Without justice, forgiveness is an empty exercise.” I am emboldened and consoled to know I am not on this path alone.