“Forgiveness is to allow the other person not to be God. Forgiveness says, ‘I know you love me, but you don’t have to love me unconditionally, because no human being can do that…’ To forgive other people for being able to give us only a little love–that is a hard discipline. To keep asking others for forgiveness because we can only give a little love–that is a hard discipline…. If we can forgive that another person cannot give us what only God can give, then we can celebrate that person’s gift. Then we can see the love that person is giving us as a reflection of God’s great, unconditional love.” Henri Nouwen
“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- The love of Jesus for us was and is unconditional. He isn’t deterred in his love for me “however undeserving I am” (Teresa of Avila). We’re called to love that way, but “it’s a hard discipline.”
- Can you forgive others for “not being God” – for failing to give you “what only God can give?” Can you do this with your spouse? family members? people at church? your pastor?
- Can you forgive yourself for “not being God” to others – for failing to give them “what only God can give?”
- What can you do to keep these limits before you, so you remember them when you or others fall short in loving well?
Abba, forgiving and loving well is a hard discipline. May my often feeble attempts to forgive and love point beyond themselves, even in their limitations, to your perfect forgiveness and love.
For More: A Spirituality of Living by Henri Nouwen
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in about 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)