The Genius of Forgiveness

     I know a man who has a grudge.
     As I have watched this man make choices, constantly accommodating his grudge–avoiding seeing the person he has a grudge against, etc.–it makes me feel sad for him.
     Those who know how to forgive had a real advantage in life.
     They are not enchained by other people’s errors, sins and misdemeanors.
     Rather, they get to be in charge of where they go, whom they see, what they do.  They let the real judge, the Divine Judge, punish the wrong doer.  They can let go of the burden of other people’s sins, and are free to roam where ever they choose.

     There is a genius of forgiveness.
     It takes insight to see that forgiving does not condone; it does not accept wrong doing.  It is just saying, “I will let someone else, namely God, have vengeance on that person.” (Romans 12:21)
     Forgiveness is also insightful because it is consistent with the fact that each of us sometimes is the one in the wrong, and we would like others to forgive us.  It is intelligent to act in a way that does not set a double standard, but extends to others what we wish to have extended to us.
     Even when the offender is not sorry, we should forgive, just as Christ on the cross said: “Father, forgive them, for they knew not what they do.”  Christ forgave those who were crucifying him–clearly, they were not repentant.
    This is part of the genius of forgiveness.  It is not contingent on other people getting their choices right.  It is how to keep your power, your integrity, and your autonomy in a world of broken people.