“We may have made mistakes in our past, but we’re not bound by those mistakes in the present — as long as we’re willing to think now as we did not think then, think now as we did not think then, act now as we did not act then, clean up in the present what needs to be cleaned up from the past, and be now who we were not then.” — Marianne Williamson, in The Law of Divine Compensation.
I think this encapsulates beautifully the freedom intrinsic to the forgiveness journey. As a Christian, I place the forgiving life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at the center of the Good News given as gracious gift by a reconciling and ever-creating God. The process of transformation that Williamson describes here is one that must be grounded in unconditional grace and love, not the ego-burdened efforts of cleaning up our acts so that we will be “good enough.” Jesus opened up — for all who look to him — the way of release from all that effort. Christians call it New Creation.
This is what it sounds like from Paul’s pen:
2 Corinthians 5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I’m meditating on these connections in the run-up to a few things on my/our plate:
– My next Forgive for Life workshop on 12/1… it is always such a privilege to meet people in that supportive space.
– Advent (around the corner!)… and the invitation to celebrate a Christ Child that is not meek and mild (if that means of no disruptive impact), but meek and therefore MIGHTY.
– The joy of attending an upcoming train-the-trainer event with theologian James Alison, along with 75 others whom I will join as we “beta test” a new adult ed curriculum: The Forgiving Victim: an Induction into Christian Vulnerability.
(A number of peers have shared ambivalence or concern about the first part of that title. What I know, and am thrilled about, is that we will be focusing on the way that forgiveness allows us to participate in that New Creation AND REMAIN VICTIMS NO LONGER to our past hurts or regrets.)
WHAT WOULD A CHURCH LOOK LIKE THAT REALLY REALLY participated in and practiced this Gospel?!!! To anchor all in the forgiving work of Christ and the gift of a life oriented and grounded in reconciliation? Let’s think on that together this Advent…