“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tower high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
There are some things ‘Mordor’ can’t touch—all darkness is fleeting. From everlasting to everlasting the star will shine in all its beauty. And us with Him.
His love endures forever.
Now that’s hope.
“When God alone is with us in the strange, trackless forests of what we really are, there is potential for us to do or say all sorts of unpleasant things. Take heart. Whatever those things might be, he will forgive us, as long as we extend the same courtesy to others.” —Adrian Plass
Forgiving others isn’t a tough as we make it—yes, as we make it. Jesus taught us how—minus a step that we added. To forgive someone isn’t to finally feel good about them, which is a terrible burden of often hopeless, if not disingenuous effort. If we’re waiting to feel good about our offenders, we’ll be waiting a really long time—God never told us to feel good about them. Whenever Jesus taught us to forgive others, He always used the same metaphor. Debt—like keeping a ledger. Jesus’ death in our place erased the ledger of every unplayable penalty we’ll ever owe God—and He did it when we weren’t even likeable—when we were His enemies—objects of His wrath and ungodly. Through Jesus He erased the ledger of our unpayable debt. When the Books are finally opened, they’ll be blank.
And that’s how we forgive our enemies—even the unforgivable. God doesn’t require us to like them, but to discharge their debt against us—yes, they did bad things, but they owe me nothing—not even an apology, forevermore. Like Jesus did to us.
Jesus said: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…” Now ya know.