Forgiveness Does Not Come Easy

March 4, 2013

Let’s be honest. Sometimes the last thing we want to do is forgive. 

From the minutest mishaps, to devastatingly earth shattering decisions made by others and affecting you, one thing is undeniable: people hurt people. It is nearly impossible to go your whole life without being hurt at the hands of another person, and even more impossible to go your whole life without hurting another person yourself. Unfortunately, and against God’s original intent, when humanity welcomed sin into the world, we ushered in with it all the pain, hardship, and suffering ol’ Dorito Breath himself could conjure up. Even without intending to, our human nature, with sin, causes us to do and say things that wound the ones around us. I think it is safe to say that all of us have felt or said, at some point, this argument. “I am mad at you. I don’t really know why, I just am.”

Relationships with people take work, simple as that. You can’t just will someone into your life; will them to bare their soul, and accept yours as easily. Sometimes I wish that I could just meet someone, and be close to them, but that just isn’t how it works. Relationships take cultivating, time, tending to, and the passionate desire to connect with one another in the deep facets of life. As much as we may long for rainbows, lollipops and butterflies, that is not feasible. They take sacrifice. They take putting other people’s needs before their own. They take forgiveness.

Most of the time, forgiveness is just plain difficult. We get the mentality of, “Well, bless God, they did this and that and don’t deserve to be forgiven!” Pride engulfs us and whispers into our ears that we are right, they are wrong, so why should they be forgiven? Right and wrong is not the issue, forgiveness is the issue; obedience is the issue. And I, for one, feel so blessed and so thankful that I was not given what I deserve. God’s word says in Romans 6: 23 that the wages of sin are death, and sinner— that’s me. I am so enthralled at God’s love and the redemption of Jesus Christ bringing grace into our lives. Even though I deserve death, Christ died in my place.

I look back over the course of my life so far and it is so apparent how much forgiveness I have received from God through Christ. I have been forgiven much, so God has called me to forgive much. I once heard someone pose this question, “Why should I forgive them if they didn’t even ask for my forgiveness?” I would say, look at Jesus. Over two thousand years ago, our Messiah, faced the ultimate betrayal. The words that He muttered from His lips while enduring His unfitting punishment were not, “Smite them Lord! They deserve to die like they are making me!” His gracious loving words were, “Forgive them, Father. For they know not what they do.”  While we were yet in our sin, Christ died for us. He humbly, and with submission, took our place on that cross that we deserved. Maybe you are at a point where forgiveness for others comes easily. You have to remember that there comes a time when you will look in the mirror and you have to forgive yourself. Take joy that when God sees you, he doesn’t see your sin—he sees his Son.

Be on guard. It is so easy for unforgiveness to sneak in and take nest in our hearts. I have heard it said that not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Love tells us to keep no record of wrongs, and even more than for the other person, forgiving others is for our personal sake.

I give you this challenge to try forgiveness. Next time you feel your professor was being unfair, or a friend tells you something that cuts you down to your core, instead of bottling in that anger, that frustration, and desire for justice on your part, try forgiving. Like my mom always told me, be a duck! Let it roll right off your back like beads of water rolling off a duck. Choose forgiveness—and experience freedom.

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