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?
January 17, 2014 at 8:17 am
As usual, spot on. thanks Phil. Love to you and Lenore. Jenny Prout
From the iPhone of Jenny Prout
January 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm
Thanks Jenny appreciate very much
January 17, 2014 at 8:49 am
Such an important insight Phil. Those who are the most judgemental towards others are often those who are judgemental towards themselves. It’s so helpful to realise that’s where we start!
January 17, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Thats very true Tania, thanks for your thoughts.
January 17, 2014 at 9:17 am
Loved your insight Phil – will take it onboard- I did hide under Steve’s armpit for some of the movie..but walked away understanding that there was a correlation between his first act of sacrifice for the group and his ability to then forgive the one.. Sounds like the person of Jesus ❤❤
January 17, 2014 at 7:17 pm
Hi Jeanie, I can just see you hiding it was tuff at times.
January 17, 2014 at 11:30 am
Loving Fridays with Phil’s wisdom, insight and thought provoking “teaching”…so good-thank you so much! 😃
January 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Thanks Denise really do appreciate you reading and your comments have a great week-end.
January 17, 2014 at 12:23 pm
Well said Phil. No matter how far along the road of life we have travelled, being less of a judge & more forgiving are always the best options!
January 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm
So true Fred thanks for your comments.
January 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm
Thank you Phil for sharing this insight!
January 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm
Bless you Patrick and love to your family.
January 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm
Brilliant insight Phil. You are an inspiration to many.
Sent from my iPhone
January 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Thanks Deb; so are you by the way!
January 17, 2014 at 7:52 pm
So true. Accepting the fact that I’m not just forgiven but complete and up to the mark due to what Jesus has done rather than what I have done has given me the ability to live free of judging others – even crazy Cambodian drivers who break every road rule. 🙂
January 18, 2014 at 3:56 pm
Wow Sarah thanks for reading and keep up the great work. I remember my trip to Cambodia and the traffic, be safe.
January 18, 2014 at 9:25 am
Thanks Phil, reading your blog is helping me to feel so much more what my darling husband Trev must have felt as he was carried along his own MND journey by our loving and all-understanding Heavenly Dad! Love your blog, even if it makes me cry every time! With you all the way and am blown away by the effect YOUR journey will have on so many others. Bless you and your family, Hazel O
January 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm
Hi Hazel thanks so much for your comments you have been the most wonderful wife to your husband Trev and an inspiration to many yourself. Thanks for your courage and faith. It was sad to hear about Trev but we know he is without any limitations now. Bless you heaps.
January 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm
I’m with you Hazel so agree with you. As always I am in absolute awe of our Heavenly Father and the power of his LOVE as is shown to us through HIS most BELOVED humble servant Phil. Love you Phil. Kris H
January 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm
Thanks Kris and you know I love you too.
January 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm
Just catching up on things and loved this post. It has confirmed my thoughts and is helping in my own healing process.
Forgiveness is a way of life for sure.
Resting in His presence on the road to restoration.
Love ya mate