“As long as you can deal with evil by some means other than forgiveness, you will keep projecting, fearing, and attacking it over there, instead of ‘gazing’ on it within and ‘weeping’ over it within yourself and all of us. Forgiveness demands three new simultaneous ‘seeings’: I must see God in the other; I must access God in myself; and I must experience God in a new way that is larger than an ‘Enforcer.’” —Adapted from Richard Rohr’s Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media, 2008), pp. 193-194.
Richard Rohr is teaching us more basic lessons about how to forgive. It involves seeing the Christ—God in the person we are forgiving—as well as seeing God or Christ in ourselves. That makes sense. But then Rohr throws in this third condition. We must see that God is more, larger than a hall monitor handing out detention slips, checking a list, looking at our every action and judging whether we and our neighbors are behaving rightly.
My experience is that we are called to enlarge our concept of God as a God of love. How do we do this? We place ourselves with other people who seem to be experiencing God’s love. We observe the ways in which they know how to forgive others.
As we begin to see the Christ in others who know love, the God of love, the Christ in us awakens—and slowly, often very slowly, we begin to see the Christ also in those who have harmed us. We may discover that personal tragedies have brought them to the place of hurting others. This awareness starts to come as we pray daily, sometimes hourly, for the person who has harmed us. We realize we are still carrying around a heavy load of resentment that is like a cancer, destroying the joy in our lives a little each day. That person is still hurting us. He or she is becoming our higher power, our God, because more and more, that is all we can think about.
As we daily pray for that person, he or she may never change; but my experience is that we will.
Come and get a signed copy of the new book
Just in time for the holidays
A Spiritual Rx for Advent Christmas, and Epiphany
The Sequel to A Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter
Both are $18
All Money from sale of the books goes either to Camp Mitchel Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas or Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast
Seibert’s, 27 River Ridge Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72227
10 to noon, Saturday September 14, 2019