Forgiveness is a Superpower
There are many times in my life where I feel I can relate to the famed “prodigal son.” Clothing drenched with the stink of swine food, nervously making my way up the familiar path of my childhood home, awaiting the gaze of my disappointed father and ready to negotiate any role of servanthood just to be in his house again.
I wonder how often any of us imagine we are the father instead? The one who would be justified in his anger or at the very least have earned the right to lecture his wayward son on the consequences of inheritance squandering. Do we ever see ourselves as the Father who doesn’t seem to waste his energy on an ounce of “I told you so” and completely misses his opportunity for vindication? The father who could stand on the porch with folded arms, but instead hikes up his robes and runs as fast as his aged legs will carry to meet his boy. Then, before his son even has a chance to utter a word of humble repentance, the robes are transferred, the ring lavished and the party preparations are delegated.
Wayward son does not even have a chance to ask for forgiveness but the father had already taken care of that detail in his own heart.
This is why forgiveness is a superpower. It has the potential to unentangle us from the death and sickness that bitterness brings. It has the capacity to launch us into a love otherworldly, an undeserved love lavished like a signet ring on a filthy finger.
The ones we choose to not forgive become our captors, but the ones we release from all payment due us, become co-humanity in need of a father expectantly waiting, running shoes laced.
A brilliant man (Brant Boneh) once defined forgiveness as “Letting go and giving to G-d what you think you are owed.” If we are honest, we believe we are owed some things. We are owed being heard. We are owed not being judged unfairly. We are owed an apology for being shunned. Give up our right to that?
Yeshua starred at His abusers and gave up His right to what He most certainly was owed. He was so proficient at His superpower that He forgave them while the transgressions against Him were in process!
What if we mimicked the Master in this? The moment someone hurts our feelings, judges us, accuses us, whatever, we decide to push past the sizzling fury or the tender hurt place and immediately begin speaking forgiveness (letting go and giving to G-d what we think we are owed). If that person never asks us for forgiveness, it doesn’t matter. If they do, it is an unexpected dessert and we can freely give that forgiveness without hesitation because we already worked it out in our heart. Superpower. Now, mind you, sometimes it takes a little longer to get there than others, and I am not talking about a phony, get over it and move on kind of forgiveness. I am talking about a release. An act of will in our souls, empowered by the Spirit.
When talking about forgiveness I will add—this does not mean trust is restored, or that healthy boundaries do not need to be in place. It does mean we are no longer insistent on our vindication because we have gifted that to our Abba Father.
Yom Kippur is almost here and unforgiveness is the worst kind of enslavement. Evoke your superpower. Dare to bring before your heart those who have broken you in one way or another. Dare to let go and give to G-d what you think you are owed.