Forgiveness is probably one of the biggest struggles of my life… which is ironic, because at the same time I have been forgiven of so much! I am expected to forgive because I have been forgiven, and if I don’t it’s because I have either never experienced Gods grace, or I don’t understand it. I have experienced it, but understanding it is something like standing ankle deep in the ocean and saying I understand squid… it’s foreign to me… my humanness tells me to defend myself, to defend the people I love, to seek justice for wrongs.. but my God tells me that I must turn the other cheek and let someone slap me and insult me again, I must stand silent before accusers, I must forgive instead of seek justice.
People have treated me like total crap at various points in my life. I must also face the fact that I have treated others like crap as well, either purposefully or on accident. It’s incredibly hard for me to forgive those people for the things they have done, but I think that’s because deep down I feel like it’s incredibly difficult to be forgiven of the things I have done… There is a feeling of guilt that comes with understanding… there is a righteous guilt from God which is the heavy hand of the Holy Spirit on our hearts showing us our need for repentance. There is also a demonic guilt which is the heavy hand of Satan telling us we have failed, we are worthless and beyond redemption.
To forgive others, we have to first be willing to forgive ourselves, which is like saying, before you can give something away we must first give it away to ourselves, when the thing isn’t even ours to give away in the first place! You and I do not hold the gavel when it comes to sin. God does. Forgiveness and condemnation are His alone to give. Gods grace is not at the mercy of yours. God is the judge, how stupid are we to think that we can hold a grudge against someone God has already pardoned??
Forgive, because you have been forgiven… by the same God who will judge everyone else as well. Maybe that person you’re angry at will be forgiven and never face consequences for hurting you… but what have you done that you will never be condemned for?
Simple Fact: You and I DO NOT DESERVE to be forgiven of anything. We are wretched, disgusting, vile little creatures who love to wallow around in our own bile and venom. We could never, in a thousand lifetimes, be “good enough” to not owe God.
Grace means getting something you don’t deserve: mercy.
Mercy means not getting the punishment you do deserve: Justice.
Justice and Mercy kiss at the cross. Everything my wretched little self deserved was pinned to the ground by the weight of Gods mercy. There is no justice in the Gospel. Nobody gets what’s coming to them at the cross. Jesus got your pain, you get his life. It’s not fair and it never will be.
Who do I think I am to say that I am more evil than Jesus is good?? Who do we think we are when we say we can’t be forgiven, or that we can’t forgive others?? How can we say that Jesus died for the sins of the world… except the ones committed against me?
Jesus forgave people before they even sinned against him! He didn’t preach at them, he didn’t call down a myriad of angels to slaughter them before they had the chance… he simply forgave them. Even nailed to a tree he forgave… looking at the soldier pounding the nails, he loved him… he took every smack of the mallet for the man swinging it, to save him from himself.. who am I to say that it’s hard to forgive?
…and yet, it is hard to forgive…