on Forgiveness

Personal forgiveness has seemed fallacious to me.  To say “I forgive you” is to put myself above you, so why do that?  It’s also very cheap.  It costs me nothing to forgive.  So why would it be worth doing?  It was opened to me today, on reading Mark 11:25 (Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.), that forgiving someone benefits me, even if it doesn’t benefit her.

If I hold something against him, then I can feel falsely superior.  I can pretend I’m better than my wife because I keep my own stuff off the kitchen counters and dining table (not!).  I can feel superior to the dentist because she left a sharp place in my teeth that bugs me, just slightly, many times a day.

It’s important, I guess, that this Bible verse comes soon after some very severe statements and actions of Jesus–the instruction to the rich guy to sell all he owns, a prohibition of divorce, the driving out of the money changers and the withering of the fig tree.  He also invites little children to come to him and tells his disciples that even putting a camel through a needle’s eye or moving a mountain to the sea is possible with God and faith.  Forgiveness is needed–and available.

Forgiveness, instead of being a smug act of superiority, is the final act of false superiority.  I’m just as clueless as my wife or the dentist.  And just as blessed.  We’re all of us in this together.  On that equal, humble footing, I can go to our Lord and ask for divine forgiveness, plus whatever else I need.