Yesterday, I talked to some friends who were undergoing a family problem. It was a difficult topic and I asked the question: have you forgiven the person?
There was a long pause. I can’t remember hearing a ‘yes.’ Then I remembered how I have asked that question several times since the start of the year to different friends, both virtually and in person, when I talked to them about the difficult situations they were in. Interestingly, I’ve asked the same to myself too many times in this season.
Forgiveness is like the word of the year for me, and to think we’re just starting the second quarter. Why is it so hard to forgive?
Oftentimes, we think of forgiveness as a privilege we give to other people. They hurt or offended us, and it’s upon our discretion whether we are going to forgive them or not. Sometimes, the offense is too big to even consider; if the person does not deserve it, why should we give it to them? It’s even worse when the person keeps repeating it, and we feel like we are being abused.
It’s hard to confront forgiveness this way but I’m going to anyway. When we do something wrong or offensive, how quickly do we want to be forgiven? Even if we deserved to carry the guilt, how would we feel when the offended party suddenly forgives us—no questions asked? In our gratefulness, we would hold that person close to our hearts, wouldn’t we?
How heavy is your heart right now? How much heavier is it when you carry the weight of un-forgiveness? Isn’t it true that the more we love the person, the greater is their ability to hurt us?
How do I confront my own bitterness?
I always look at the way God has forgiven me. Why would someone, who created the universe, even care for a tiny, insignificant person like me?
Many people think it is more likely that the Creator of the universe is an aloof God, and rightly so. God doesn’t need us. BUT wait, I see an anomaly—LOVE.
Love exists. No one can deny it. Unconditional love—we see a glimpse of it on our parents, especially when we were helpless, demanding infants. Who authored love?
If we believe in a Creator who made humans, we should believe that he made us into beings of love. Why would the author of love not be a lover himself?
I believe in the love of God. I see glimpses of it in the love of the people around me, even in my own love for people. Love is true, and so is a loving God himself. God loves us; we often hear that. How powerful is that phrase?
We are imperfect, and our very own imperfection offends His very nature. But so great is his love for us, He’s reaching out to us all the time. This makes it more hurtful for Him when we turn away from Him, which we usually do, by the way. Still, even as we were all sinners, He died for us. It is the best illustration of love, and the saddest too. This alone compels me to love more, and to forgive more.
I am speaking for myself. I’m a very vulnerable person, and I love so deeply. I also give and receive love through words. Words. How many words fly (or fail to fly) across the earth at this day and age? This means so many people whom I love hurt me on a daily basis.
How do I get along? I forgive, and only by the grace of God. The God who forgives me—His offender.
I forgive because as an imperfect, offensive, hurtful human being, I myself want to be forgiven too. That’s the only thing I hold on to, and I know it’s easier said than done.
Try forgiving from your heart too, and feel the freedom. Even better, taste and see the goodness of a forgiving God as well. It will change you.