Margaret Feinberg (@mafeinberg) on the Wonder of Forgiveness

Apr 07

Margaret Feinberg (@mafeinberg) on the Wonder of Forgiveness

As Christians, we all say we believe in forgiveness. That is, we believe in receiving forgiveness. But when it comes to extending forgiveness to someone who has hurt us, we suddenly believe in justice. Funny how that happens.

Forgiveness is a very important topic to me, but it seems as if the church doesn’t effectively teach the necessity and blessings of forgiveness. That’s why I was delighted to see Margaret Feinberg discuss a vulnerable and thoughtful process of forgiveness she went through. Here is a small portion of what she shared about forgiveness in her book, Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God.

Book Excerpt

When others hurt us, the wounds they leave behind are sometimes gaping, leaving us breathless in the aftermath; or sometimes the wounds are shallow, and we don’t realize the harm done until months later. However, when we don’t allow the healing power of forgiveness to mend our injuries, we give opportunity for the infection of bitterness to ulcerate. A tiny scratch riddled with bacteria can become a candidate for amputation with enough time. Even the smallest of annoyances, when left unforgiven, can mutate into sources of great pain.

I was so consumed by the hurt and the injustice done to me, I hadn’t noticed my ardor for God slowly slipping away. When I gave permission for enmity to fester, the fervor for God cooled in my life. But the moment I slid the notice into the mailbox, I recognized the extent of how much I had been enslaved by unforgiveness and how much my lack of forgiveness had numbed my desire for God.

. . .

As followers of Jesus, we’re commanded to forgive just as we’ve been forgiven. Indeed, Jesus says that God’s pardon of us is dependent on our forgiving others. God calls us to the life of forgiveness. In forgiving the undeserving, I submit myself to God, and Christ’s clemency flows through me.

Such grace emanates through the life of Christ and his death and resurrection. Hanging on the cross, Jesus asks God to forgive those who scorned and abused and robbed him most. The religious leaders. The Roman cohort. The mass of humanity. Even after the resurrection, his first words to the disciples are those of forgiveness. Jesus sends his followers into the world with forgiveness as one of their central missions.

The hard truth I had to face was that unforgiveness ranks among those things for which I most need God’s forgiveness.

Whose name pops up on your computer screen that makes you bristle? Whose picture incites animosity? Who do you sense the Spirit is nudging you to radically forgive?

Thanks to God’s work, I don’t hold bitterness toward Eugene anymore, but I’m working on forgiving other situations and people now. Eugene was only the beginning of my journey.

Unforgiveness feels like a prison built by the hands of a criminal where we end up incarcerated. Whether robbed, violated, or betrayed, we find ourselves trapped by the bondage of bitterness, the chains of cynicism, and the shackles of sin. With enough time, we can convince ourselves the prisons of our past were built by someone else, but unforgiveness is a cage we construct ourselves. If we choose to stop focusing on our inward pain and instead scan the perimeter, we discover the door to freedom hangs wide open thanks to Christ. The choice is ours.

–Margaret Feinberg, Wonderstruck, excerpt from .008: “The Disappearing Silver Necklace.”

 

Receiving forgiveness is a wonderful thing, but the wonder of forgiveness is most striking when we extend forgiveness to others. It’s an act of humility, admitting that the other person doesn’t have control over you because God is the one in control.

That’s not to say forgiveness is easy. You have to want to be right with God more than you want the other person to be wrong with God. You have to want reconciliation more than revenge.

The way to get to forgiveness is to begin to pray for the other person. Once you can pray for God’s blessings on the other person, you know you have forgiven the person.

What part of forgiving someone is difficult for you—noticing the need to forgive, forgiving, a desire for revenge or justice, or something else?

 

You can connect with Margaret Feinberg on Twitter (@mafeinberg) or on her website: http://margaretfeinberg.com/. She talks about her book, Wonderstruck, in the video below. It is available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions. It is also available from Christianbook.com in paperback or ePub.

 

 


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950889: Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God

By Margaret Feinberg / Worthy Publishing

Just like you, Margaret Feinberg longs to live in such a way that makes her feel fully alive. She suspects she’s not the only one whose sense of splendor and delight has faded with the demands of modern living. What do we do when holy awe is replaced by unholy indifference? When hope is diminished to a manageable emotion? When love becomes a fleeting expression in short supply?

In Wonderstruck, Margaret invites you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Learn to unearth the extraordinary moments in every day life, recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine, and discover peace in knowing you’re wildly loved. You’ll find it is possible to regain the missing spark of mystery in the day-to-day. Winsome yet compelling, whimsical yet profound, the stories from Wonderstruck will inspire you to fall in love anew with God.

34478EB: Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God - eBook Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God – eBook

By Margaret Feinberg / Worthy Publishing

Just like you, Margaret Feinberg longs to live in such a way that makes her feel fully alive. She suspects she’s not the only one whose sense of splendor and delight has faded with the demands of modern living. What do we do when holy awe is replaced by unholy indifference? When hope is diminished to a manageable emotion? When love becomes a fleeting expression in short supply?

In Wonderstruck, Margaret invites you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Learn to unearth the extraordinary moments in every day life, recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine, and discover peace in knowing you’re wildly loved. You’ll find it is possible to regain the missing spark of mystery in the day-to-day. Winsome yet compelling, whimsical yet profound, the stories from Wonderstruck will inspire you to fall in love anew with God.


Christian Authors A to Z Virtual Book Fair, April 1-30

This post is part of the Virtual Book Fair: Christian Authors A to Z. See the list of other authors featured in the Virtual Book Fair.