The unforgiven, no, not the movie, just all the “enemies” one may have made or met, for whatever reason, in one’s life. How many are left, and how many are left unforgiven? Forgiving oneself, and others, can be a grim place to look but not as grim as a life spent not looking. “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” is probably one of the most important lines of the prayer that begins the communion Rite in the Catholic Mass.
Grim, grim, grim. A life spent not looking. A life where any and every suggestion that one is not actually practically perfect in every way is immediately taken as a personal attack, instead of the well intended observation, a messenger from our better nature. Of course it must be immediately counterattacked with a scorched earth wave of vengeance, a full court press of belittling scorn, a heaping helping of shame transference, until the messenger is beaten into submission and surrenders even as the proof of the suggestion has just unfolded in detail for everyone around to feast on.
And, isolated upon that blasted heath, that no-man’s land of spiritual desolation, one must try to muster up the fortitude and compassion to forgive the offender, not only for the original transgression, however serious, but for the subsequent emotional violation as well. Forgive, because to be forgiven one must forgive. And which among us does not need forgiveness. Forgive the shallowness, contempt, envy, evil fantasies, devaluation of others, impatience, judgement, the outright harm done directly to another. …
Forgive, lest we find ourselves unforgiven when our accounts are called and the forensic audit of our life is held. Life in the balance.
The late Adrian Rogers recalled an event: “a young man walked up to another man in Chicago and asked him where a bar was at. The bar was called “The Gates of Hell.” The man giving directions told the young man to go by Calvary Church and just keep going and he’d find the bar. Here are his bone-chilling words: “Keep on going right past Calvary and you’ll find The Gates of Hell.” Irony of ironies was not lost on this occasion. Go past Calvary and you’ll be headed straight for the gates of hell and for many, there is no hurry.”
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