Forgiveness is Hard Part 2
Forgiveness is Hard Because We Measure Sin as Big or Small
“If you knew what he did to me, you’d understand why I can’t forgive him.” Have you ever said something like this? I have, many times. Forgiveness (real forgiveness) is hard. If I were to ask how many out there had ever forgiven someone for something, I’m sure we’d all have our hands up. It’s not that hard to forgive... as long as what we’re dealing with is something that we think is little. Someone cuts you off in traffic? No big deal. Someone tells a lie about you? It’s harder but you’ll probably still get over it. But what about the big stuff? What happens when the guy cutting you off in traffic causes a wreck that kills one of your kids? How easy is it when that lie told about you costs you your career or breaks up your marriage? If you’ve lived any time at all, you know that there are things out there that are incredibly hard to forgive.
Forgiveness is hard because no matter who we are, we tend to measure sins as big or small. We then decide whether or not to forgive based on how much the situation has cost us. As Christians, we want to forgive and be gracious to others just like Christ does. But if we’re honest, there are some hurts that get buried so deeply inside our souls that we don’t know how to forgive and get rid of them. So, as followers of Jesus, What are we to do? Here are some things to do when it’s impossible in our human nature to forgive someone:
1. Run to Jesus with it. Don’t walk (and be honest when you get there).
Big things happen in life that can easily cause us to give in to hate and bitterness. Every day that we try to hide it from ourselves or from God, the roots of bitterness dig deeper. Run to Jesus with it immediately. Tell the Holy Ghost about it. All of it. Be real. If you hate somebody, tell God. If you’re mad at God Himself, tell Him. He knows it anyway. There’s nothing you can hide from Him. Real forgiveness (over the big stuff that really matters) requires a supernatural move of God. You’re not going to get there on your own. Trust me. You won’t. The process truly starts with owning up to any sins that grow out of our anger and pride once we get hurt. The times in my life that lasting forgiveness flowed through me always started with running to Jesus and then with my repentance.
2. Ask the Holy Ghost to show you the situation from Christ’s point of view
Here are some things the LORD has taught me:
No matter how bad I hurt when betrayed by someone, I have hurt Jesus worse. No matter how much it costs me to forgive, the cost was much higher for Jesus. If I ever feel like I am better than someone else, I’m being judgmental and am inviting God’s judgment back into my own life to replace the grace that He offered. Anytime I think that I look really good while someone else looks really bad, it’s because I’m comparing myself to another sinner who has fallen from grace instead of comparing myself to God. At the foot of the cross, I’m compelled to make the only comparison that will ever really matter: How well do I stack up against the glory of Jesus? The road to true conviction, repentance, and salvation starts when I stand, staring horrified at the bloody carnage of Calvary, only to look down and see the hammer in my hand...
Let us never forget that we reap what we sow. The Lord's Prayer asks the Father to forgive us only as we forgive others. I desperately want forgiveness, mercy and grace to flow freely from me because if I do anything to slow the precious flow of grace from Calvary into my life, I’m eternally doomed.
3. Trust that the same loving God who will reward the pure in heart will also punish the unrepentant We don’t need to keep a record of wrongdoing. For the unrepentant and hard of heart, God is already doing that. Let’s purpose in our hearts as a church to flow abundantly in forgiveness and grace and leave the judging up to Him. No matter how big or small the sin looks to us, we are not in a position to judge it properly.
Pastor Ed Brewer