Forgiving someone is a hard thing to do.
In my experience (both personal and observed), we are afraid that forgiving someone means that we have to somehow excuse what was done to us. It feels like we have to minimize the other person’s action by saying that what he did to us was not really wrong; or it didn’t really do that much harm; or perhaps that her action was acceptable considering the circumstances in the first place. These ideas are the polar opposite of what happens in Biblical forgiveness. By its very definition and nature, forgiveness is always connected to a wrong done. If it wasn’t wrong, there is no need to forgive. If we truly forgive someone we have to acknowledge he/she “did us wrong.”
If we are going to forgive, we do so by following God’s example. Romans 5:8 tells us that, “God shows us His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Granted, we are incapable of dying to pay the penalty for our sin, much less the sin of anyone else. Only Jesus can do that. The point I am making here in connection to Romans 5:8 is the phrase, “…while we were still sinners…” God’s process of forgiveness began while we were still sinners. He acknowledged our sin, our wrongdoing and chose to place the penalty for our sin upon our substitute, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the Cross because wrong was done; because great harm came about; and precisely because our sin against Him is not acceptable. Just as God dealt with our sin by seeing it for what it is, we too must forgive by dealing with the harm that is done. We travel down the path of forgiveness by acknowledging the wrong, handing justice & mercy to our Lord to dispense according to His infinite wisdom, and choosing to no longer hold the sin against the person who harmed us.
Forgiving someone is a hard thing to do. Truth is, its hard work. For God to forgive us of our sin He sent His Son to the die on the Cross. For the Son to forgive us of our sin He had to bear the penalty of our sin. Forgiving someone is hard work. Thanks be to God, He has shown us how to forgive and gives us strength through the Spirit to forgive as we have been forgiven.
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