I have been thinking a lot about forgiveness this week-how the families of those murdered in a Charlestown church responded, how Christians and the LGBT community are responding to the Supreme Court decision, and, not the least of which, the series "Do Over" at Hope & yesterday's message on Letting Go.
I didn't think there was anything I needed to forgive because, in general, I try to deal with things quickly. Meditating today, I see there are somethings that I have been unwilling to release and it is causing me pain...to which I respond with anger.
Injustice ticks me off. Ambiguity annoys me. Being wrong makes me mad. In all of these things, I lack control over the situation. So, as I have begun to explore these tender spots, I have found some places where forgiveness, letting go, may be in order.
I need to forgive God. Yes, that IS as arrogant as it sounds. Still, I need to forgive him for not being clear enough, being unwilling to answer all my questions. (Many of you would probably tell me that I am supposed to have faith and submit to his sovereignty. I will forgive you for that.) How do we love the sinner and hate the sin without causing damage to said sinner and our relationship? Is being "right" as prescribed by biblical texts good enough? We justified slavery & segregation while we still justify exclusion of LGBT individuals & women in leadership by a few verses which we use to color the whole library of books. Is that what You mean? Do You call us to places and roles but not allow us to fulfill those callings? Are You trying to show us something else? Like that we can't be those things and we just need to trust You have something better planned? What is it? I need to forgive Him, also, for making this strange thing called church in which we struggle against each other, against Him, against society & never seem to find the wholeness we are seeking.
I need to forgive the church for being a very imperfect community. I love it and am frustrated by it all at once. I need to forgive them for not making sense to me. I need to forgive them for seeing through the only eyes they have, for hearing through the only ears they have been given. I need to forgive the lack of progress as a community. I need to forgive them for not being what I think they could be.
I need to forgive myself for not becoming everything I thought I should. I need to forgive myself for falling short so often, for being conflicted, for being angry, for being scared, for wanting what I cannot have, for rejecting good things for mere dreams. I need to forgive myself for the fear that comes when I feel the pull toward the church and being repelled by it at the same time.
I realize that this bitterness & fear about how it should be but isn't, about the questions whose answers are not enough, well, it just isn't good for my spirit.
So what do I do now? If I let it go, do I stop trying to figure out my place, stop wrestling with the questions, and just be? I can't imagine my faith or my life being that flaccid. I also don't want to waste energy on nursing resentments that poison my relationship with God and others.
As I write all this out, I hear echoes of an ancient serpent who once hissed, "Did God really say...?" Even while I question these things, I don't want that. I flew from that, back to the only safe place I know. My Father. I know He has my best interests in mind. I know Him. I know His Spirit. I know His love. I just wish I knew His thoughts behind some of these questions.
For now, I am forgiving & just going to hang out with Him. I am letting go.
I can always pick it up tomorrow and forgive again.