Forgiveness: The Pearl of the Onion
Sometimes, as a Christian, I want to throw someone’s offense–whole–into the water of forgiveness without really looking at it.
The truth is, forgiveness IS like an onion and it has a lot of layers. I might have to work through them piece by piece. Sometimes we need to process things, and sometimes we only have the mental or emotional stamina to deal with one piece at a time.
So after I throw the big offense into the water, it starts to haunt me…anger, resentment, and bitterness start to surface and the onion (I seemingly threw away) starts to take root in my heart. What was I really forgiving, anyway? So I have to pull it out and start examining it. I’ve got to get to work.
The Process of Forgiving
As the layers come to me, one-by-one (of their own volition and their own timetable, I might add): I examine the layer, process it mentally, emotionally, and release it in prayer. Sometimes I thought I had forgiven that person after a few layers, and then something else will trigger the peeling of another layer: a memory, a piece of truth, or an emotion I had not dealt with yet. There I am again, in prayer, asking for help to forgive. This could be even months later, days, or even only MOMENTS later. It all depends on where I am in the healing process.
These are like mini-sacrifices or offerings to God. I am not able to forgive in my own strength or intellectual/emotional merit. In fact, this is the last thing I WANT to do when I have been hurt. I know, even though I was hurt badly, I cannot hold on to it for my own health and well-being.
Plus, I know God calls me to forgive. He knows it is for my own benefit as well. I know I am a sinner, too, and I need forgiveness just as much as the person I am forgiving. That person may not DESERVE forgiveness, but neither do I. Thankfully it’s a gift only God can give and who gives it to us freely. He is the one that enables our hearts to forgive others. Part of the process is asking God, in prayer, to help you forgive.
We are all connected and unforgiveness, as you can see, comes with a very high price:
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
Finally, the Pearl of the Onion
We don’t actually know it at the time, but there is this wonderful moment when we get down to, let’s call it: the pearl of the onion. It’s the small, smooth rounded part in the very middle. It’s the last “section” and the last sacrifice to God in prayer over this large offense.
There have been SO MANY layers before it, I almost doubt that this is the final layer. I close my eyes and offer it to God, with one eye open I wonder, “Is that it?…Are there any more layers coming?”.
When it is complete, it is marked by thanksgiving and even joy. There is a peace knowing that God and I can walk through just about anything.
For some more great information on forgiveness, hop over and read Joyce Meyer’s article on: The Poison of Unforgiveness.