What an absolute mess.
Forgiveness is the most unforgiving command of all Christian virtue. To fulfill its requirement, forgiveness demands a complete prostration of self; a willingness to suffer the wounds of shattered trust, the pain of a broken heart and yet cohere. Unlike the command to ‘lay down one’s life’, the command to forgive requires more than a singular moment of righteous sacrifice. Forgiveness is not accomplished by one, heavenly flourish of largess. Forgiveness is not an action. Forgiveness is a way of living.
Forgiveness is one of the many tremulous landscapes on the lifelong journey to approach the human heart’s ultimate Christ-directed destination—Grace.
Among the landscapes of the path to Grace are charity, justice, courage, prudence. These are rugged moral topographies, perilous and challenging. They have requirements of their own, twisting roads among ruinous valleys and sky flung mountains that must be climbed, but none of them require the equal measure such as forgiveness does. Forgiveness is a power that only the stouthearted traveler can know. For forgiveness stands where all other virtues bend the knee to human desire.
Charity wilts in the winter of personal suffering.
Justice inflames wrath in the fires of a wrong endured.
Courage cowers when overwhelmed by unkept promises.
Prudence abandons even the most stalwart mind when the heart is broken.
Forgiveness blooms where other virtues cannot grow.
Forgiveness tempers the rage of the incensed mob.
Forgiveness stands as a tower, assailed but never breached against lies.
Forgiveness is love’s bridegroom. They are one, inseparable flesh. Without one, the other cannot subsist. In that way, without forgiveness, the love inside someone becomes lonely and self-serving; making it a lighthouse with no beacon. A hearth with no fire.
What a gift.