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5/6/2017 8:00:00 AM
Praying for offender is a vital part of forgiveness

I was intrigued by Heather Renshaw’s column “Forgiveness is a Process” (Feb. 17, page 22).

Perhaps it is precisely on this issue that the saintly dictum comes into play, “In the end we will all be tested on love.” One could say that even Jesus was tempted on this and surmounted it by praying for his enemies from the cross, a loving choice in the face of horrendous pain and outrageous injustice. Does not every single person who has ever trod planet Earth have occasion to forgive someone — a daughter, a father, a teacher, the neighborhood bully, the boss, a criminal, a priest, a spouse? 

Recently my son, father of two small children, smiled at me and said, “Dad, I just read somewhere that to become a parent is to forgive everything.” I was relieved to hear that, of course, for there was something to forgive. How could there not be?

Sooner or later, everyone who struggles seriously with un-forgiveness will realize — as Heather Renshaw came to realize — that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.  Feelings come and go, and in the game of life it is a rookie mistake to think that because warm feelings of forgiveness flow over you, that you have forgiven your offender. 

Even the choice to forgive is not sufficient. There is one more component, exemplified by our crucified Lord, and that is to pray for our offender.   

Lee Gilbert

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