The Most Important Reason to Forgive
“Forgiveness is between them and God. It’s my job to arrange the meeting." - A.J. Quinnell, Man on Fire.
This pithy quote captures the way we sometimes feel. We feel forgiveness is for God, while our duty is to execute vengeance.
Actually, it's the other way round, God calls us to forgive, while He executes vengeance.
In Romans 12v19, He says, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay."
And to us He says, "forgive..."
We don't let Him finish, before we cut in and say, "forgive what?!", are you kidding me, forgive, really!!" After all they did to me, forgive?!" I'll just let them go, just like that!" NO way!!!
And our reaction is understandable. Sometimes, forgiveness is incredibly difficult.
People hurt us so bad, the stab goes so deep, the pain is an ocean and the wound still bleeds at the slightest touch.
A boy that was rejected by his parents, picked up by the streets and forced to live off odd jobs to survive and sleeps on cold concrete, how does he forgive his parents as an adult?
Or a girl that was molested by her dad from when she was 8, how dare you tell her to forgive? It's almost unthinkable to forgive some things.
But there's one reason that makes forgiveness become very necessary, and possible, and it's this:
God continues..."forgive, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32)
And we ask, how did God forgive me in Christ? God says, "look at the cross"
At the cross God suffered the greatest hurt in that mankind has ever suffered and will ever suffer. He watched with great agony His one and only son suffer the most horrific death.
Have you seen someone you deeply love in pain? Your child, spouse, parent or sibling? Then you have a tiny fraction of what God felt watching His son suffer and die for almost 3 days that probably felt like 3 centuries when you understand that in God's reality a day is like a thousand years and a 1000 years is like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)
On the cross Jesus drank the fullness of this pain. He felt the pain of our evil, the hurt, the despair, emptiness and hopelessness of every human being that's ever lived and will ever live in this sin broken world. And he forgave.
He felt the injustice and pain of every woman that has been molested, every man that's been used and cheated, every boy that's been mocked by his peers, and every girl that's been rejected and betrayed by her friends.
On the cross, He felt all these things as though they were been done to him, he bore not just the whips and thorns on his body, but also the hurt of the sins of the world in his soul and spirit.
Jesus suffered the full extent of our pain and hurt at the cross. His soul was so black and disgusting with all the sin of the world on him, that His Father couldn't even bear to look at him.
For those three hours on the cross He was in a kind of hell, totally cut off from His Father. And this separation from His Father because of you and me was the greatest pain of all. He cried, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" meaning, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" (Matthew 27:46)
But in the midst of great pain, he did the unthinkable. He forgave. He asked His Father to forgive you and me (Luke 23:24). And today, thanks to God's sacrifice in Jesus, we are both children of God.
God asks us to forgive the same way He’s forgiven us.
No matter how great the sin anyone has committed against us, it’s only a tiny fraction of the sin we have committed against God, and that’s why He has earned the right to command us to forgive. The story of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 gives us perspective to this.
Someone once came to 18th-century British theologian John Wesley and told him about a person he couldn’t forgive. Wesley told the man, “Then I hope you never sin.”
We can’t receive what we’re unwilling to give others. Jesus says it like this: “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15 NIV).
Does this means we shouldn't seek justice when we are wronged? No. Sometimes, we must pursue justice on a matter, but within the laws of what is moral and of our state or organization.
Does this mean God will absolve the person of guilt and punishment? No, God says leave them for me, I'm in the best position to handle them.
Will you leave vengeance to God? Will you receive Gods forgiveness today and forgive as He has forgiven you?
I'll end with an excerpt from the article, "The Forgiven Should Forgive in Rick Warren's Daily Hope devotional:
If you don’t forgive, you’re not going to enjoy God’s vision for the rest of your life, because unforgiveness will keep you stuck in the past. You need to forgive for your sake, and then you need to get on with your life.
Forgiveness is not saying that what somebody did was right or that there shouldn’t be consequences for what happened. It just means that you let go of your anger and hurt and give it to God so that you can move on with God’s purpose for your life.
When that seems impossible, when you feel like you can’t be gracious toward someone, just remember one thing: Jesus forgave you. Remembering the grace God has shown you will give you the strength to be gracious to and forgive others. (To read the full content from this beautiful article, go here: https://pastorrick.com/the-forgiven-should-forgive/amp/)
Will you like to pray about that matter you're struggling to forgive? Pray these prayers: https://www.faithgateway.com/praying-to-forgive-yourself-god-and-others/
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV