Reflection on Forgiveness
Written by Hannah Pinter
Creation Care at Camp Mokule’ia corps member
Forgiveness – This year I’m working with the Creation Care at Camp Mokule’ia ESC program. We’re helping develop a farm and a garden at the camp, so part of our work involves planting seeds. Growing up, I was distanced from seeds, yet at the same time they were commonplace. I learned about them in grade-school and always knew that fruits and vegetables come from them. The idea was so familiar it seemed nothing to get excited about. However, this year has given me the chance to contemplate what’s really going on when we plant seeds, and I’ve found it to be a wisdom and wonder beyond our understanding. No more than a speck is pushed underneath soil. It’s tiny, fragile, and in a place of darkness. Somehow water and soil nutrients seep in; and then, amazingly, new life breaks through. From the small beginning of a seedling, entire trees, bushes, flowers, and fruit and vegetable plants or vines can develop. This is a work of God. We can put the seeds in good soil and ensure they receive sunlight and water, but God is the Creator and Life-giver.
I think forgiveness works like seeds do. When we’ve been wronged or hurt, it can feel like a hopeless place of darkness – bitterness, anger, resentment, loneliness, sadness…All it takes though, is the heart-turn towards God, the seed of a prayer for help, and God brings life into our experience. Like the Psalm reading states, God “knows how we’re made, God remembers that we’re just dust” and “has compassion on those who honor Him.” God knows we’re incapable of forgiving on our own; so God has compassion on us and heals our hearts and lives.
As I’m writing this, I understand that forgiveness is one of those spiritual practices that looks great on paper, but it’s not so cheery and wonderful in real life. I’ve experienced this when I’m angry with someone. Sometimes all I want to do is dwell on the situation and judge the person and let the whole world know how horrible they’ve been to me; I certainly don’t want to forgive and release it. Something that has helped me with this is to do a short meditation of sorts. I imagine my negative feelings as a thorn in my foot, and it hurts to walk. Then I imagine God coming to me, and I sit down and let God see my foot. God gently removes the thorn and rubs the wound and a sense of healing spreads throughout. The other night I was praying/meditating in this way (I consider it a prayer, though it’s more mental images than words) and I had the thought that my thorns of hurt and bitterness are represented by the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. He really has taken all of our sin and “ick” for us and offers us life in its place. What a miracle and gift and wonder.