I wondered what those who knew me in my youth would find more unlikely, that I would ever write about forgiving enemies or that Hannibal Lector would pen a vegetarian cookbook... definitely the former.
And yet here we are. I want to share the deepest insight I have heard on the subject so far. It was described by Fr. Blount, a charismatic American exorcist whose testimonies keep you on the edge of your seat. (His numerous videos on YouTube are well worth a look.) He described what he received from God on the topic of forgiving enemies. The process at first seemed familiar, the decision or act of one’s will regardless of feeling forgiving.
The next step he described was to ask God to bless your enemy, not grudgingly but lavishly and sincerely with joy in life; and then added that we should pray that they become saints; and also that they are given a higher degree of glory than us in heaven. How God accomplishes this is to be left up to Him.
The next step though was a much deeper cut. To thank God for whatever happened to you. In his own family story, Fr. Blount had one sister who had been raped, an uncle and cousin shot and murdered and more than a few hard experiences in his own life. And yet this step is essential, without exception.
The reason given was that whatever wounds we have taken in life from the evil one, or his allies or those around us have been permitted by God; His permissive will. That is not to say that he approves of any evil thing as that would be impossible as He is entirely good and holy. More than that as he described it, the angels of God protect us from the arrows of evil (more than we know) but sometimes He instructs them to let one through, to allow us to be wounded, sometimes severely. This is not to give the enemy of our soul’s victory in his objective, by no means, but whatever wound we take will flatten us, humble us, cause to cry out, bring about change in line with His purposes eventually. And so if a particular wound leads to our sanctification or salvation, would that not be reason to rejoice over it and thank God for transforming what was intended to destroy us, into a gain? It is the hard things in life that produce the most growth.
Often our sufferings, at the hands of others, can be misinterpreted as God’s seemingly lack of intervention. He risks the fact that we can be angry, resentful and even hate Him for allowing such things, or doubt His goodness as a consequence, in order to complete His work in us in the longer run; He has the big picture, our eternal good in mind.
And if you can make it this far, only one thing remains: to surrender it all to God and receive His healing of our wounded heart.