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The Joy of Forgiveness

posted 5 Feb 2019, 09:00 by Fran Brady

This is my beautiful new puppy, Keltie. She is a golden cocker spaniel, quite adorable and, like all new babies, incredibly labour intensive. Writing has taken a back seat since her arrival on the 4thJanuary.


She is so filling the sad void left by the death of my lovely Tucker, eighteen months ago. But she 

 has also taught me a wonderful lesson: the JOY of forgiveness. 

Now, I believe in forgiveness - giving and getting. I know it is important for our mental and spiritual health; but I have always thought of it as my Christian duty, obligated as I am by Christ’s incomparable example. I try to forgive the trespasses of others because my own failures and sins have been wonderfully forgiven through Christ’s work of salvation. It is a logical quid pro quo, an admirable code of practice for life. But I have to admit that, more often than not, I find it a struggle, even a grind, a daily work-in-progress.


But wee Keltie has a very different take on the art of forgiveness. 

Puppy-like, she follows me everywhere, sticking to me like clue and constantly getting under my feet - literally. At least three times a day I tramp on her paw or her tail, and she emits a bloodcurdling squeal which fills me with horrified contrition. ‘Sorry, sorry, sorry, wee one,’ I exclaim. Does she growl, sulk, walk away, snap or bark angrily? No, she instantly forgives me. But, so much more than that: she goes into a paroxysm of wriggling, licking, tail-wagging joy, bestowing her instant and complete forgiveness upon me, and positively delighting to do so. 


She has taught me that forgiveness can be more that a duty or a quid-pro-quo obligation. It can be an act of joyful love. I may still have bitter feelings towards someone who has wronged or hurt me, but I can take delight in forgiving them. Virtue - or forgiveness - truly can be its own reward: actual JOY!