Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
Dave Hearn, President of the C&MA Canada
A few weeks ago, my wife, Agnes, and I were able to be pilgrims on the El Camino in Spain.
On the second day of our pilgrimage, we climbed a long hill known as “The Hill of Forgiveness.”
As I started the climb, I was confronted by the face of the man that sexually abused my youngest daughter early in our pastoral ministry.
I had forgiven on the surface, but deep in my soul, I was filled with focused rage. I have watched my daughter struggle hard emotionally, and our entire family has lived with the agony this person inflicted.
I heard God say, ‘I want you not only to forgive him, but also to bless him.’ I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 6:27:
“I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you (ESV).”
In these verses, Jesus describes the final step in forgiveness. We have not totally forgiven until we can bless those who have hurt us deeply.
My first reaction to God’s invitation was to provide every reason that this person deserved anything but blessing.
I could feel the anger and tension growing as I took each step. Finally, I could resist the Holy Spirit no longer, and I cried out, “I do not want to carry this any longer; Lord, help me!”
The dam of anguish and anger began to drain, and I felt a deep release in my soul. I arrived at the summit of The Hill of Forgiveness feeling a new freedom.
My backpack was still heavy, but my soul was instantly lighter.
God specializes in being kind to the unkind and showing mercy to cruel people. He specializes in showering grace upon sinners. We can show His character by the way we treat our enemies.
What does forgiveness that blesses look like? For me, it was expressed in a simple prayer:
Lord, I am so angry at this person, but You already know that. I ask You to love this person through me, because I can’t do it in my own power. I ask you for a love I don’t have and can’t begin to produce.
Lord, I ask You to bless him with Your grace and love. I ask You to bring him to repentance and humility before You. I release him from my anger and place him in Your hands.
God will not turn you away when you come with an honest heart, admitting you need His love to flow through you.
Through Jesus, we will find the strength to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, and to pray for those who despitefully use us.
Have you climbed “the hill of forgiveness” recently? It’s time!
“Beloved, shall we open all our being to His heavenly power, and enter into all the fullness of the love of God? Let us receive Him, and walk in Him, and so walk in love.” (A.B. SIMPSON).
Please find the original version in C&MA website