Refusal to forgive binds you to your past; forgiveness binds you to your future and to God’s hope and grace that things can be different. It takes a matter of faith not only to believe that God forgives you, but also to allow that forgiveness to provide the shield of protection you’ve looked for all your life, the hope that things can be different.
In some ways it is much easier to study the faith than to live by it. Perhaps this is because we are not expected to understand the mysteries to which we pledge allegiance, but we are expected to live righteously through the mysterious twists and turns of life. We have to live with disappointment and loss and failure, and not give up on other people or on God. We have to allow our expectations and perspectives to be challenged, and not turn our backs on the possibility of new insight.
Paul provides us with a plan of action. Do away with bitterness, fury and anger. Live lives of kindness, compassion and forgiveness. What has any of this to do with faith? It is faith that strengthens us to live in this way in a world filled with terror and violence, in a church marked by betrayal and disillusionment. Will we ever really understand our faith? I doubt it. Will we ever really learn to live by it? I hope so.