This is the bringing together of two gargantuan issues: grief and forgiveness. There’s no better time to learn about the power of forgiveness than when you’re living in a state of spiritual bankruptcy. Spiritual bankruptcy is the opposite of moral bankruptcy because it’s in weakness that our spirituality thrives.
It’s in grief that we experience and, therefore, ultimately learn true poverty of spirit.
The worst thing that can happen to us when forgiveness would be the best thing is that we would have strength enough to resist being broken when it is grief that dissolves all strength (a.k.a. pride) that corrupts hopes for growth.
POVERTY THAT LEADS TO WEALTH
Poverty of spirit or spiritual bankruptcy sounds bad, but it is the best thing for any human being to endure and survive. Every human being ought to be afforded the opportunity to learn and grow through the gift of lament.
Lament, or real spiritual poverty, is the only way to spiritual transformation. Something precious must be lost in the material for us to gain in the spiritual.
It is the paradox of all paradoxes, and only those who have been there truly have seen the power of God operationalized, just as it was for Noah, for Job, for Jeremiah, for David, for the prophets, for Jesus.
Those who were reduced to nothing found resources within and without that empowered them not to give up, and to simply experience this is a victory all itself.
Loss is the activator of spiritual power and gain. Loss sets us up to gain precisely as we lose, as we bear situations that should crush us and in fact, do, but allow us to survive. Loss tests our motivation, and basically everyone is humbled by loss because our motivation is never that pure to begin with.
LOSS HELPS WITH FORGIVENESS
Just how is it possible that loss helps with forgiveness?
Apart from times when loss is intermingled with a great unvindicated injustice, which complicates loss no end, loss leaves us in a place where we have no self-sufficiency or entitlement left. And yet no matter how much injustice we must bear, being made spiritually poor, we necessarily must rely on resources external to us conjoined to the surrender we bear for having very little left to resist.
When we are kept in a living circumstance of loss, where we wrestle with our grief for months, we have at last a great deal of hope that we would finally grow, despite ourselves, when growing was previously thwarted because we, ourselves, stood in our own way.
As we are humbled day after day in our grief, having little or no strength to resist, we bear the broader portion of surrender because we have the strength and power to do little else.
Loss helps with forgiveness because we are willing to try anything to receive a moment’s respite, and forgiveness is the direct path because the mercy we give away, we receive also.
Forgiveness is like a boomerang. The more we give it away, the more it comes back to us. But forgiveness is always the stuff of the heart, in that the heart must sense the need to forgive and then follow that hunch.
Forgiveness isn’t hard when we have nothing left, but when we resist, we prove that the skerrick of resolve we have left is our nemesis. He only gets in our way, and it only proves problematic. So it is better to have nothing so we can start again, much better than being poor and staying poor.
Forgiveness, therefore, is much easier when our world is falling apart than when we have our faculties about us, when our human strength gets in the way. A life-ending loss is not a bad thing.
But again, we must live this reality over months and possibly years to understand it. God transforms us slowly, over time. There are no quick fixes.
Pain invites us to surrender our strength, and in surrendering our strength, we gain God’s power. And when for the first time, we operate in God’s power, we find our human strength was what always got us in trouble.
Grief smashes our pride against the rocks of contempt and converts our hearts and minds to the perspective of reverence for the good things that can be done.
In this way, grief can be seen as a gift.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework
Featured Image by Ronny Overhate from Pixabay
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