2013-11-21 - Hard Forgiveness
Originally Published 2002-08-01
Rom 3:23-26 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (KJV)
If you live long enough someone will let you down. If you live a little longer someone will treat you with gross unfairness even after you have suffered much for them. A few of us will be hurt with wounds that simply will not heal on this side of the grave - most likely by someone very close to us. Someone you don't know can disappoint you, but they can't really hurt you anywhere near as deeply as someone you love and trust. The hurt and personal pain can be devastating, even crippling for a time.
It has often been said that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Each member of the human race has sinned. We are born with a nature that is given to the selfishness that breeds sin. Little children must be taught to play nice and share their toys with their siblings and friends. When that trust is learned and taken into the teen years or adulthood, we learn that trust must be earned and is shared with those who earn it over some period of time.
When that trust is betrayed the effects on that relationship can be devastating. It will often take a long time before that trust is given as freely again, if indeed it is ever given in the same way. To forgive something like this can be very very difficult. This first thing to remember is that to forgive someone does not mean that you agree or accept what they did or said. It simply means that you are going to make a conscious effort to not hold that offense against them any longer. It also doesn't mean that things in the relationship are automatically back to where they were before the problem occurred. But by not holding the offense against the offending person the healing process between the two parties can begin. It may take a long long time.
The second thing to remember is that Jesus forgave us. He forgave us when He didn't have to forgive. We were dead in our sins. We could do nothing to help ourselves in any way. Before we knew we needed a Savior God devised the plan to reach each one of us. He did all the work - filed all the petitions, and paid all the debts.
If we could learn to forgive that way, the healing process could being much sooner. If we can learn to respond to forgiveness given to us with grace and acceptance, the relationships could be restored more quickly even when the damage is grievous. Many times forgiveness must start as a one-way street. Walking that road can be as hard as suffering under the hurt and pain of the offense. And there are times when it will remain a one way street - just like it does with the people who refuse to answer the call of God to salvation. It does not change the fact that God keeps calling sometimes right up to the end of this life.
Rom 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (KJV)
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.