When You Don’t Forgive

Here is a great insight from feisty, innovative, provocative, and always funny Anne Lamott. And it is on a spiritual theme that is of central importance for all of us.

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

Some of the best theology we do may be called practical theology (or pastoral theology or spiritual theology). Such theology has to do with the essential features of being human, being in relationship with others, and attending to the fluctuations and movement of the soul, emotions, thinking, and such.

Central to such pastoral theology will be wise reflection on themes of forgiveness and its opposite, unforgiveness.

Such reflection will first involve engaging the biblical teaching on forgiveness and, in particular, the teaching and illustration of Jesus.

Second, will be reflection on one’s own capacity for forgiveness and a rigorous, as well as gentle, searching for why forgiveness is hard. May I suggest that forgiveness does not come naturally or easily for most of us–even if you have been following Jesus for many long years.

Third, will be a deeper understanding of the consequences of forgiveness and unforgiveness. It is in this category that the metaphor used by Anne Lamott is so useful.

If you have a few minutes and want to journal some reflections, ask yourself:

  • What are my core beliefs about forgiveness?
  • How am I doing on this thing called forgiveness?
  • What is happening in my life about the way I practice (or do not practice) forgiveness?

Be sure to read Ephesians 4:32.

Pastor Brian

Brian Rice
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