Forgiveness Is for the Weak

9:00 AM

It makes sense that the hungry, the persecuted, and the mournful made it into the Beatitudes. The whole point of the passage is that if you lay down your life and empty yourself, you'll see God. That is, going low, being humble, and being broken is a necessity before God becomes enough

Why peacemakers?

Maybe it seems obvious to you, but it never seemed obvious to me why peacemakers made it onto the list of the broken, humble, and empty. It belongs on the list of those who do good and will be rewarded, of course. If you've ever refereed an argument between two little brothers, you understand.

"You're a baby. You want to know why? Because you did one thing that was like a baby, and then you did another thing that wasn't like a baby. That makes you a baby." 
"Well, I'm going to go into the Marines, and then you can't call me a baby. Marines aren't babies." 
"You're a baby because you're a baby!" 
"That doesn't make sense."

There's definitely a reward in heaven for diffusing those logical conundrums. But what's broken, humble, and emptying about it?

He's playing chess. It's a conflict. Like trying to snap photos in the dark.
I think Jesus had something else in mind than those who just moderate conflicts. Maybe He meant the peacemakers in their own personal conflicts -- when two lovers butt heads, when two friends fall out, when parent and child see eye to nose, when an enemy attacks. There's brokenness in that -- hurt feelings, sinning, being sinned against. There's emptiness in that -- someone who ought to love you chooses to love himself. There is definitely an opportunity for humility.

I love making up, asking forgiveness, and moving on. I love when both offenders enter into each other's pain and sin and wipe away each other's tears and offer the tissues and hug and grow intimate through conflict. It's healing, it's beautiful.

Pool. Also a conflict. It ended in a truce: "This is boring. I'm done."

One problem? It doesn't happen automatically. Someone needs to move to the other person's side. Someone needs to swallow the hurt and the anger enough to reach out a hand and say, "I'm sorry" or "Let's work this out."

And it's rough to be that person. It's rough, because I'm not in control of how the other person responds. They can give off that cursory attitude of I'm sorry this situation came up instead of I'm genuinely sorry to cause you pain. They can say "I'm sorry, please forgive me"...but it doesn't take as much courage to say that now that you've started the ball rolling. There's a fear in initiating peace: What if I'm being used? What if they're walking all over me? What if my willingness and quickness to apologize just fosters their self-centeredness, their pride, their insensitivity to my feelings? What if I'm always going to be the one who has to fix things?

I want to experience grace. I want people to run after me and make things up. I want people to love me enough, value me enough, that no matter how huge the conflict or how bad my sin or how ugly the language, they want that relationship restored. That's why I run after the people I've hurt or had a falling out with -- I love them. I want them.

For me, at least, that's why the peacemakers are blessed. They must surrender their desire to feel loved, their wants, their needs, even, to make peace with another...to meet their friend's need for love and grace. That's a huge thing to temporarily suspend in the air. That take guts and grace. That's a God thing...to trust you will not be used, walked over, or taken for granted in the long run, because God will bless you.

I read an article called "Why Being Unable to Forgive Makes You Smart, Not Weak." It advocates the smart move of not forgiving offenders for the exact psychological reason I mentioned -- feeling like forgiveness is just letting the offender control you yet again. Maybe it does, in a small way. I don't think it does, but it feels like it sometimes. It places you in an emotionally vulnerable situation, opens you up to hurt, to caring, to love, which can break you. Even if forgiving makes me weak, I'm going to keep doing it...because isn't it the weak and the meek and the broken that are blessed?

How does apologizing, peacemaking, and forgiving make you feel? Is it weak?
Is there ever a time to not forgive?

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