Forgiveness is truly a path less taken. Forgiveness has no sidewalks, curbs, stop signs or lights. Forgiveness is a barely visible trail now overgrown with grass nearly un-noticed by the passerby. Forgiveness is an orphan virtue gasped from a crucified man who also happened to be God. Forgiveness beckons the angry to lay aside vengeance for it curiously does not belong to them. The history of wrath from vigilantes to our manipulated legal system has proven insufficient and unsatisfactory to say the least. The action of forgiving proclaims the Truth that vengeance is God’s and His alone. Although there is a shallow urge that justifies our anger, it is quickly overwhelmed by the immeasurable wave of forgiveness that justifies our faith. Forgiveness takes a meek soul with the heart of a lion to roar against its own pride. As courageous and difficult forgiving another can be, it is more perfectly tailored for our happiness than the ill-suited vice of revenge. In order for forgiveness to take root we must encounter Gethsemane then later join Jesus and replace Simon of Cyrene to feel the unjust weight of our darkness. We must still ourselves and forget our digital day planners and approach the Olive Garden warmed by the lamp of the Beatitudes that carefully lights our next step. Here, in the darkened grotto where Jesus descends into our sin, forgiveness illumed an unexpected light. Accepting the bitterness of our deserved wrath knowing His very sacrifice will be rejected while further embracing the following day’s horrific brutality and death is where we begin our prayer. Here in the foreglow of the desperate prayers of Jesus our awareness focuses as we catch one of the falling drops of sweat from Christ’s excruciating decision. We lift our red-stained palms to our unbelieving eyes for closer inspection and recognize this will someday wash us clean. No longer able to stand in the matchless humility of this moment our knees collapse as we tremble to say, “My Lord and My God.” Gethsemane is no longer a contemplation but an encounter with unconditional forgiveness. Here in the liquid reality of Gethsemane, the “Oil Press”, the crushing of the sacred Olive begins which will later burn as fuel for our redemption. Forgiveness slowly seeps into every rebellious crevice of our past up to the moment our knees crumpled before Our King. The divine Oil of our forgiveness will soon splatter on a gruesome whipping post before it soaks the very rugged cross you just help shoulder. The ineffable love in the words, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do,” ravages the arrogance of our prideful convictions. If we dare yoke our obedience to the One who trampled that barely visible path nearly overgrown by grass, we too may delight in the residue of His forgiveness. How has forgiveness colored your life?
I AM borne this Man of Sorrows,
Come to fill your valley of tears.
A Judas kiss starts tomorrow
To awaken my dreadful fear
Abba! Father! Are you near?
I will drink the cup of Thy Will
And carry man’s Redemptive Cross.
I’ll give up my Ghost on that hill
To satisfy what sin has cost.
So Hell can soon feel its frost.
©2011 by Chris Clody 2/8/11