A picture of forgiveness...

... it starts with you.


Maribel Lopez Hill

8/22/20133 min read

a row of stained glass windows in a church
a row of stained glass windows in a church

A visual picture of forgiveness came on June 7, 2013, in the strangest of places.

It was a hectic time… the end of the school year, trying to get out of town, and feeling overwhelmed in my lack of music organization at home.

Luckily, a teacher (@joncmusic) suggested I use a system on Thursday of that week. So, Friday morning I woke up excited to organize months of music stuff. About two hours in, and highly focused on the task at hand, I heard the Holy Spirit of God gently say, “write about forgiveness.”

If He wants me to do it right now, He usually says ‘DO IT’. But that day He didn't. My response was selfish. I quietly said to Him, really? Right now? And so I disobeyed in that moment… and I pressed on in my tasking.

(God decides when He is going to impress something upon you. I speak from experience. My selfish example above is about to be played out God's way, not my way. He tells us His ways are not our ways. And I'm one of his hard headed willful children).

After a few more hours of organization, I took a shower. While having a Clairol moment, I was Thanking Jesus for some personal past trials… that had really challenged my level of forgiveness (or better yet -unforgiveness) with my hubby. You see, I could forgive everyone… but my husband. God had really been on me about this, since last Fall.

In June, I was praising Him for my troubles. I saw that He had been preparing me for situations I would/will face in the future on a grander scale. He is so faithful!!!

Here was the vision that came as I closed my eyes that day:

… I see a door. I physically lean forward, I walk through the door… and shut it behind me. The door is at my back. Everything I SEE all around me is full of white Beautiful Light. My thoughts are of the warm sensation on my skin… and I feel Alive, I feel Joy, and Peace, and Freedom. And I hear the Holy Spirit of God then say quietly as I am gazing about, “This is what forgiveness looks like. When you forgive, and when you are forgiven, you walk through that door and you SHUT IT. And this is what is in store for you! All the good things I have promised you.”

Over the summer, I discovered a Christian novelist named Frederick Buechner. In Wishful Thinking, Mr. Buechner writes of forgiveness, “To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, ‘you have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles (q.v.) demand no less. However, although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what you've done, and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend.’

To accept forgiveness means to admit that you've done something unspeakable that needs to be forgiven, and that both parties must swallow the same thing: their pride.

This seems to explain what Jesus means when He says to God, ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ Jesus is not saying that God's forgiveness is conditional upon our forgiving others. In the first place, forgiveness that's conditional isn’t really forgiveness at all, just Fair Warning; and in the second place, our unforgivingness is among those things about which we need to have God forgive us most. What Jesus apparently is saying is that the pride which keeps us from forgiving is the same pride which keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please help us do something about it.

When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you're spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.

When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you're spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.

For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other's presence.”

Some marinating thoughts...

Shutting the door on things past.

Shutting the door on things present.

Committing to shutting the door on things future.

Are you ready and willing to shut the door?

Are you willing to forgive/be forgiven... and be set free?

It begins with forgiving yourself.

I pray that you allow yourself to feel God’s healing Grace. :-)

Thank You, Jesus, for the unconditional Love and Forgiveness You bestow in our messy lives! My simple words could never express ENOUGH how grateful I am that You Love all of us no matter where we are with You!!!

May we learn to accept and receive Your Grace.

In Your Holy Holy Holy Name I pray, Amen.

Jesus is King!

~maribel hill