By M P K Kutty
Apr 22, 2011,
The call to forgiveness and reconciliation is vital for the survival of the human race. "Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness," wrote Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor.
Our capacity to forgive indicates our moral likeness to the One who commanded us to forgive and who freely forgives us. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," pleaded Jesus as he endured the Cross. The 2,000-year-old plea continues to be the subject of meditation for Christians as they observe Lent every year. The example set by Jesus is the cardinal doctrine built into the faith - that of forgiveness. The day of crucifixion, observed as Good Friday, is a reminder to reflect and learn to forgive.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was but fulfillment of a prophesy that a Messiah would arrive to intercede for the sins of the human race and would rescue them from the power of darkness and bring them into the Kingdom of Light. Had the Roman soldiers known that they were crucifying the 'Lord of Glory' they would have averted it.
Jesus provided a new way - the way of Grace - that whoever believes in His atoning sacrifice on the Cross would receive forgiveness and salvation.
Through the work of Jesus Christ the seeker discovers the love of God and the forgiveness of God. This transference from darkness to light, from slavery to freedom and from condemnation to forgiveness is all implied in the atoning death of Jesus on the Cross and his resurrection.
The cause of many a suffering is the feeling of vengeance, jealousy and greed, yet we have a choice before us, to not succumb to these negative aspects. By forgiving those who wrong us, not only do we create the right environment for harmony and peace, we also promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Miracles happen when two alienated people start all over again. An estranged father holds out his hand to his daughter; those on the brink of divorce suddenly undergo a change of heart; bitter enemies become friends as suspicions get lifted - transforming relationships happen through the melting away of bitterness and animosity.
When Jesus directed his followers to love their enemies and to forgive offenders 'seventy-times-seven' he was prescribing not only ways of protecting their souls, but also their bodies from various illnesses that arise out of anger and frustration.
Forgiveness is an act of love. It has the power to heal. The life of Jesus is an example of the fact that at the heart of love is forgiveness and compassion. Forgiveness creates the possibilities of release from an unfair or unpleasant past. It takes us off the escalator of revenge providing an escape from gradual and total ruin. To forgive is to put down heavy baggage from one's back. It is setting oneself free from bonds of hatred.
Today when terrorism and hatred, suspicion and greed seek to create chaos and uncertainty all over the globe, understanding, atonement and forgiveness need to be propagated and practised more effectively if we are to improve the quality of our lives and evolve on the spiritual path. Forgiveness holds the key. Its give and take that will open doors to greater brotherhood and understanding, and renew hopes in the hearts of those who live in remembrance of what Good Friday stands for.
Source: The Times of India