I have yet to find one person on this planet who has been able to say, “I have never been wronged in my life.” It happens. Daily. It can be something as small as getting your order wrong at the drive thru, getting cut off in traffic, or getting ignored by a passerby when you give them a friendly “hello.” For some, being wronged can be a dangerous poison, eating away at our hearts, trust, and outlook on life. Children are suffering from neglect, women are entangled in abusive relationships, hard working men are getting laid off after thirty years of commitment to their careers. Children are being bullied. Marriages are failing due to forgotten vows. Families are set against families because of deceit. Violence stakes its claim on good families. Bad circumstances are alive and well in this imperfect world. And unfortunately, this will not change.
These things make it very difficult for us to practice the art of forgiveness. We want to own the hurt. We want a justifiable reason to wallow in despair and make bad choices of our own. As humans, we tend to take on the pain caused by another and let it dig into our very core, rotting our outlook on mankind. We don’t want to forgive because they haven’t done enough to prove they are sorry. We don’t want to forgive because we want to be bitter. They haven’t asked for forgiveness, therefore the forgiveness is ours to give if and only if they come clean. Do you feel this way when hurt? Do you make it your right to offer forgiveness only to those who you feel deserve it, and let a wound fester in your soul with those who you think don’t? Forgiveness isn’t a gift to the person who has done you wrong. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself so you can heal. Forgiveness releases you just as much as it releases those who have wronged you, and perhaps, it releases you just a bit more.
Forgiveness heals the offended and gives hope to the offender. Sin is a drought and forgiveness is the rain. The Creator of all things even gets bogged down with the sin of others. He too feels the hurt, betrayal, and the sting of sin. God Himself cannot sin, but He does feel the affects of sin. Isaiah 43:24 says, “You have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities.”
Have you too felt the magnitude of another’s sin? The hurt of other’s actions have drained you of living. The hurt of other’s actions have placed a weight on you that you cannot, and really should not be carrying. The passage in Isaiah goes on to say in v. 25, “I, I am He who blots out transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Our Father blots out our sins and remembers them no more for His own sake. In a world full of sin, God can remain the Holy Being He is because He chooses to forgive. He chooses to love. He chooses to unbind Himself from His creation’s mistakes so that He can remain perfect and give us this perfection through His son Jesus. Forgiveness releases the offended and gives them the strength to continue to live as a holy people. Have you ever looked at forgiveness in this way? We forgive over and over and over again, just like our Father in heaven, so we can remain a holy people. God forgives to remain holy for His people. Can we not do the same?
As Christians, we thrive on the fact that we receive forgiveness through Jesus. We all too often forget to pass on this very same forgiveness because we feel as if forgiveness is something we own. We do not own the right to forgive; we forgive because we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift we have been given to release us from the evils in this world. We didn’t ask God to send His son, but He sent Him. Why? Because He knew that we would need forgiveness. He gave it before we even knew we needed it.
God offers forgiveness and sanctification because He wants to be in our presence. If our Father chose to let the sins of the world burden Him, and to hold off on forgiveness until all who have offended Him repent, each and every one of us would be eternal orphans. For His sake, and for ours, He forgives.
Forgiveness is never easy, but it is necessary to thrive. Some of us are hit with things that we should never, ever have to experience, but the hope in all of this is forgiveness. Take the mindset of forgiveness being for the offender off the table and see it for what the passage in Isaiah sees it. It’s for your sake. It’s for your burden. It’s for you to have the strength to show mercies that you have been shown because you are choosing love instead of bitterness. You are choosing to forget instead of fester. You are choosing to forgive because that is what God has done for you. Let go of the sins of others and heal. God continues to remain Holy by casting your sins aside because He wants to be in your presence. This very fact can give us all the strength to do the same.
Sign-up to be notified of new posts and products from Start2Finish and get a FREE copy of the award-winning The Epic of God: A Guide to Genesis.