WHY WE NEED A NEW METAPHOR FOR FORGIVENESS—PART 1

 

What surprised me most when I started forgiving wasn't how hard it was or that it made a difference to my relationships, it was that afterwards I experienced a tangible freedom to be my true self.

I was set free as I set others free by forgiving them.

This is not just my experience. I've heard many Christians express how when you set free the person who harmed you through forgiveness, you inadvertently set yourself free too.

Which begs the question: why are all our metaphors of forgiveness so one-sided, when the reality is that both forgiven and forgiver benefit?

Our current metaphors—cancelling, pardoning, or letting go— focus exclusively on the freedom of the person being forgiven. We fail to communicate that anything good will happen to us, except as an after-thought that doesn't fit within any of these metaphors.

In Lament Forgive I propose we start using untangling a knot as a new, two-sided metaphor for forgiveness. It's an image that immediately communicates how forgiving others can free us from the consequences of another's sin as much as—perhaps even more than—it frees the person we're forgiving.

 
ForgivenessSteve Hall