Good Friday: A Lesson in Forgiveness & Love
Spring is here! It’s hard to believe it, and for us in South Florida, spring often feels more like summer, but we have officially entered the season of Spring. In our most recent series, we’ve been focusing on addictions, compulsive behaviors, and depression. Oftentimes, winter can bring about a feeling of greyness and depression. Many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder. With Daylight Savings Time, longer days, and the return of warmer weather, Spring is often a time that we seek renewal and rejuvenation. As such, for our new series, we wanted to take the time to focus on the power of forgiveness and positivity and the importance of rejuvenation and renewal. To that end, we kick off our Spring Series with a focus on Forgiveness and Renewal.
It’s fitting that for the start of this series, we post this on Good Friday. If you spend some time looking around our website, you’ll notice under our services that we provide Christian, faith-based counselling. Whilst we provide a host of methods in our therapy and we see all kinds of clients from all different walks of life, Christian counseling is one of the cornerstones (no pun intended) of our practice. This being Good Friday, we thought it might be good to talk about the importance of forgiveness, mercy, and charity in the process of renewal and rejuvenation.
Good Friday is often a sombre day; a day when Christians reflect on the ultimate sacrifice Christ made for us. The common answer we all grow up hearing in Sunday School is that it is ‘good’ because it is the day that everything changed – when salvation was won. Good Friday can also serve as a marker for us as individuals. We can use it as a chance to reflect on how we’re doing and what we want to change in our lives. In our most recent series, we focused on the many daily struggles people face: marital struggles, depression, addictions, and infidelity. We at Cornerstone want to encourage you to use today as your chance to start making necessary changes. Just as Christ sacrificed himself to change our destiny, you can use today to change your life.
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23: 41-3)
One of the lessons of Good Friday is that it’s never too late to forgive. Christ forgave those who were crucifying him as he was being crucified; he promised the repentant thief salvation whilst he hung on the cross; he offered a model of love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness until his last breath. Yet, forgiveness can be incredibly difficult. Many can be incredibly forgiving towards others, yet struggle the most with an inability to forgive themselves. For those who suffered the trauma of abuse or have depression, this can have real-world ramifications. It can affect the way we see others, and can even affect the way we treat others. Forgiveness isn’t just about other people then: it’s also about us.
As a lover of math, I like to think about forgiveness in a different way. Forgiveness is mercy. It’s the willingness to no longer hold a grudge, an attempt to let go of transgressions. Instead of counting up the number of times you’ve failed yourself or others (in the negative), you might think of forgiveness as the opportunity to add positives to the bank. Whether you struggle with shame or guilt, whether you struggle to love yourself, or difficulties getting yourself out of a rut you find yourself in, instead of holding everything against yourself, by letting go of those pains and hardships, you can learn to love yourself again. That’s the beauty of forgiveness; it’s showing yourself mercy and doing yourself a kindness. If forgiveness is mercy, and mercy is showing love to yourself and others, then forgiveness is love. To go back a quick step to that math idea: forgiveness = mercy = love.
To take that another step, just like Christ died for us, forgives us our sins, and shows mercy towards us, so too does He love us. His passion, or love, is demonstrated in the ultimate act of mercy and forgiveness: His death on the cross. And because of that, we don’t have to die eternally, but get to live with Him. What that means for us as we enter spring, is that if we start by forgiving and loving ourselves, we can be renewed. By releasing ourselves of shames, burdens, and guilts, we can use this time as a period to become our best selves. It’s one of the most important steps in changing our thought patterns, our behaviors, and our tendencies. So this spring, why not take the time to smell the proverbial roses literally? Take in the beauty of nature around you. Let yourself be freed from the many burdens you may have and seek rejuvenation.
We encourage you to use this time of Spring to change yourself and change the world around you. Forgive yourself, love yourself, and be renewed. Christ may have died on Good Friday, but the reason why it’s ‘good’ is because he rose days later, his face shining, robed in white. He was renewed by his death. Use this spring to die to yourself so that you can be renewed as well in the process. We at Cornerstone are specially trained in helping you deal with these difficulties and all of life’s many challenges and struggles. We specialize in whole self care, helping you deal with whatever struggles you may be facing. If you feel alone, or are struggling to forgive yourself, to love yourself, we can help! There is hope! Reach out to us today and we’ll help you get on the road of forgiveness to renewal.