Have you ever wondered why forgiveness is hard?
Some people claim they can forgive easily. But will still be willing to remind everyone what a person did wrong in the past. I don’t think that’s forgiveness.
Before I tell you what I think real forgiveness means, allow me to explain how I got this topic into the thought-train of my mind.
My church did a Passover Feast meeting yesterday. We’re not Jewish, but we were remembering and experiencing how Jesus did it and learning the significance of what they did in their culture. And as we were taking communion, I was being thankful of how Jesus suffered and bore my sins, when I thought, ‘Hey, it wasn’t fair for Jesus at all.’ I knew things weren’t fair in life, but Jesus had to suffer most unfairly. If we died, even if we were seen as a ‘holy’ man, we’d still have come from a sinful background, and dying earlier than expected just means we died earlier than expected. We’ve all sinned. We would all have to suffer death anyway. We deserved it, maybe not tragic horrible sudden death, but we deserve death at the end. But Jesus, no. He’s perfect, He has overcame sin, and did outstanding work for the Father on His short time on earth. So it was the MOST unfair for Him to die in MY place. To suffer tragically for my sins, my wrongs, my mistakes.
But God sent Jesus as an action of His forgiveness to us. He GAVE us Jesus. It is unfair because He gave without needing or forcing us to give back. There was no exchange. Our Father HOPES that we give our lives back to Him, but He doesn’t FORCE us. He loves us that much.
So what is the key word in forgiveness? GIVE. For He GAVE. God FORGAVE. When we ask anyone for forgiveness, we are asking them to Give off themselves for us. There are a lot of things we may be giving of ourselves when we forgive. Think about it. We could be writing off a debt: We’re basically giving our money away. We could be forgiving a mean word: We’re basically giving him good report for the bad report he deserves. It could be a sacrifice of our pride, position, time, thoughts, joy, sometimes even what we believe in, and you may even hate someone but choose to change your mindset and decide to love him instead. That sounds quite preposterous. But IT IS. Sacrificing for an undeserved. That’s why forgiving is hard. In this world where fairness is fought for, we forgiveness can be quite hard to understand or accept. Giving without receiving. Forgiveness has to be FREELY Given to count.
He gave us life, breath, abilities, people, safety, took care of the details of our life. WE owe God. But we offended Him. We foolishly, knowingly, willingly, continuously sin against Him. YET God Forgave us. A clean slate. A passage to heaven. A direct audience with the Holy King at any time. These are all ours without demanding anything in return. These are all ours IF we choose to accept it. He GAVE us these when we deserved nothing.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Can we find it in our being to forgive people around us?