When you hate, the object of your hatred holds a certain power over you; and whatever form your retaliation takes, it will always be a reaction to something they did to you. To hate is to be locked in a perverse dance of death with person you despise, and is a part and parcel of this fallen, natural world. It is a reaction. Someone snubs you, insults or marginalizes you, and you stew and fume and fret and imagine how you’d get even if you had the chance and nerve. And it makes us smaller.


To forgive breaks this power they hold over us, because forgiveness isn’t a reaction but a moral choice to take a higher road. It is a rising above, it is a becoming of the true selves we were created to be; it ennobles us. This also is part of what I believe Jesus meant when He told us to love, to forgive our enemies, to turn the other cheek. We are taking our places as twice-born sons and daughters of God. Remember the natural life is one of action and reaction. God’s way is a path of a different sort: one of free choice, inserting new causes into the world through the moral choices of love and forgiveness.


In this sense we become creators with God. We are creating new things, something quite literally out of nothing: for where there was hate we choose to insert forgiveness, where nature would have reacted with anger and revenge. Forgiveness isn’t natural – in the best sense of the word. Forgiveness comes from outside nature, and it is to this we are called.


And this (in our own strength) is practically impossible. This is where we realize our spiritual poverty, our need of God’s continuing grace, His help just to live as  a true disciple.