When Lenore and I were in Sydney last week, we saw the movie The Railway Man.
It’s about Eric Lomax who is tortured, beaten and forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway during Work War II. This film portrays the power of radical forgiveness.
It is a true story that played on my mind well after I had left the cinema.
Too often we see people take out brutal revenge on others for even the smallest grievance. Just this week in Florida, a man was shot dead because he was texting in a movie. Here in Australia, we have seen too many “coward” or senseless punches.
Could it be that we have become a society intolerant of others who make mistakes or let us down?
I wonder if the unrealistic expectation we place on others to be perfect is escalating feelings of frustration and disappointment, ultimately taking the luster out of life.
None of us are perfect. That’s the very premise upon which we need a Saviour who gives us grace in our imperfection.
Life really begins when we accept that and embrace the forgiveness readily available to all of us. Psalm 86:5 says, “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”
Perhaps one of the reasons that we fail to go easy on others is that we are too hard on ourselves?
We are our own worst critic.
We see the young lady tormented because she doesn’t have the body portrayed in magazines. Likewise, we see the young man feeling inadequate because he doesn’t match up to the hero portrayed on TV screens.
Jesus tells us to “love others as we love ourselves”. To live in the overflow of love towards others, we must first love ourselves.
To take it a step further, to live without harsh judgment towards others, we need to live without harsh judgment towards ourselves.
In this life of love that we are called to live, we simply can’t negate the need to forgive: others and ourselves.
As I watch my body becoming less than what I would like, due to MND / ALS, I need to be less condemning of my body and more forgiving of its imperfections in order to appreciate the present strengths I do have.
My forgiveness towards my body is not surrendering to its weaknesses, but rather giving me the strength to believe for better days ahead. It is a grace that opens my life to God’s healing presence.
Forgiving those who have hurt you is not surrendering to the pain or accepting their behaviour, it is grace extended so that you too can be free to love others and love yourself.
What is it in your life that you need to forgive today so you can live a life free to love?