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Saturday, September 5, 2009

The 'F' Word

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
~ Mark Twain

Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
~ Luke 23:34 (NKJV)

My friend Stefne calls forgiveness "The 'F' Word." When one looks at the standard of forgiveness that Jesus set at Calvary, a person is inclined to despair, and curse the very concept of forgiveness.

But Jesus does not ask the standard Oprah Winfrey thinks is necessary when she says, "True forgiveness is when you can say, 'Thank you for that experience.' " His Word says instead, "Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18, GNB)

Empowered by union with Jesus through His Spirit, we can thank God for His continued blessings in the midst of all circumstances. And yes, true forgiveness is willing to impart the fragrance of blessing to the person who injures.

But blessing does not include the need to give thanks for another's sin.

My thanks to Stefne for her generous permission to use her above words and photo. You can visit her at Stefne Miller's Blog.

Your feedback is appreciated. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I praise Him for pouring His sweet fragrance of forgiveness all over my life.

  2. Beautiful quote from Twain! Love the picture.

    Jesus is the best example of the fragrant forgiveness.

    And I agree, no need to thank someone for the unthinkable.

  3. Love the photo of the cat! Funny! I love it that God not only asks us to forgive, but he changes our hearts so we are able to do so when we continually look to Him to do so!

  4. Anne,

    My husband instituted a rule in our home that goes along with this...when an infraction of hurt occurs we don't say we are sorry...we go to the person and ask for forgiveness and no matter how mad the person must be granted. It has kept a harmony in our home for many many years....and it is thanks to this command from our Lord Jesus.

    A great reminder here today, I've been blessed. Big hugs to you!

  5. You touched upon something I've been thinking about for years. It seems so standard among pastors and churches to encourage people to forgive others in order to release themselves of "the poison" and the bitterness within. While I know there is truth in this, I believe there is more and you mentioned it and that is why I keep coming back here.

    I think we are also called to become like Christ (w/ His Spirit guiding the way). I think it's more comfortable to think of forgiving others to "release ourselves from something" rather than to free both of us from something. We've been painting all day, so this is coming out a little scattered.

    Anyway, thanks for your comment about our being willing to impart the fragrance of blessing to the person who injures. Hard, yes...but what we are called to do, YES.

    ~ Wendy

  6. Denise, His forgiveness is indeed a soothing aroma.

    T. Anne, Stefne gets credit for the photo, and for her generosity in allowing me to use it.

    Daveda, He enables many things impossible when we depend on Him.

    Debra, that's an AWESOME rule. Your husband sounds pretty special. Hugs back to you!

    Wendy, you make perfect sense. Remember when I recently wrote about our motives (FEELINGS Part I)? While acting on selfish motivation is better than not acting at all, better yet that we're motivated by duty others. Best is that we're motivated by love.

  7. Oh, Anne, you do know how to stir things up. :) Did that cat's mom say, "Watch out, or your face will freeze like that!" LOL

    And yes, imparting the fragrance of blessing unto our enemies is very, very difficult, possible only through the Spirit. But it is what separates us from the world. Thank you for this important reminder.

    God bless you!

  8. Eh, I just realized that I did not make my first statement clear...I meant that your title and the picture are very attention-grabbing! :) Have a great Sunday, Anne!

  9. Gwen, the fragrance of blessing IS exceedingly, abundantly difficult to leave behind in the wake of our pain at the words (or lack thereof) from another. But I've never done so and failed to receive back from God exceedingly, abundantly more than its cost.

    Glad to hear I succeeded at "attention-grabbing." People get used to it from me and I have to raise the bar without going too far. ;D


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