If you’ve ever seen “Field of Dreams” you know what that title is all about. The whole movie is about a son forgiving his father, and it has all of these simple phrases whispered throughout the film. We’ve all heard “If you build it, they will come.” The “ease his pain” phrase is not as popular, but recently it became quite essential to me.
I’ve been researching rather heavily the word “forgive,” and what I’m finding is changing everything I believe about relationships. I’ll try to share what I’m learning in detail but also be brief at the same time – however, please allow my thoughts to inspire you into a lifetime of thought on this subject.
When we commonly think of forgive we tend to think of pardoning a person, letting something slide, we may even consider it a way of forgetting a wrong that was done. We view it as passive, as quiet, as gentle – maybe even weak. It is the band-aid for a wound. It is a whisper in response to a scream.
In both Hebrew and Greek the meaning casts quite a different picture of forgiveness. These words convey action steps like “lift up,” “bear,” “carry,” “take hold of.” Lift up? Bear? Carry? Take hold of? Take hold of what? Bear what? Carry who? We often think of forgiveness as a way to put some space between ourselves and our offender, a way to relieve and heal our pain. But in understanding the Hebrew and Greek translations we receive instructions to move closer and closer and closer to the offender – so close that you can see every detail of his life – so close that you are almost under him – so close that you carry him.
To truly forgive someone we have to understand one simple fact – people project their inner most feelings. If in your inner most parts you are truly happy and at peace, then I doubt we will have much beef. But if you are hurting in some place, whether shallow or deep, whether conscious or sub-conscious, whether past or present – if you are hurting, that hurt is going to come out. And for me to truly forgive you is going to require me not to move away from you, not to put space between us, not to seek relief for myself. To truly forgive requires me to get close enough to you that I can learn where your hurt is coming from, and when I do learn I must take that pain upon myself and help you carry it until we can do something about it.
That is forgiveness – it is tough, it is laborious, it is frustrating, it is loud, and it is aggressive. True forgiveness is about easing another’s pain. And what better way to ease pain than to take it upon yourself.
Is this not what Jesus did? To truly forgive us he moved in closer – becoming human. To truly forgive us he eased our pain – he took it upon himself in the form of a cross.
So who needs forgiveness in your life? Do you know why they hurt you? Do you know where they are hurting? What’s it going to take for you to find out? What will be required for you to carry their pain? What will be required for you to truly forgive?