In 2017, Calvin Christian School will share a blog from a local pastor every month. For the month of March, we share a post titled “Why Forgiveness is Hard” from Pastor Joe Russell of Riverview Church.
We have all been hurt by the actions or words of others. Depending on the degree and circumstance of the offense we can easily become angry, bitter and resentful. Forgiving our offender can be challenging and seemingly impossible. Yet as Christians we are called to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us. And how exactly did God forgive you and me? God sent His Son as a Sacrifice on the cross to take the penalty of our sins away through faith in Jesus Christ. We in no way deserve this wonderful grace from God that forgives us our sins. When God forgives our sins He removes the barrier that was in-between Him and us and does not hold our sins against us. On top of this He washes us as white as snow and makes us pure. We though, even after experiencing God’s forgiveness, tend to hold grudges against others who have wronged us even if we have “forgiven them”. This is because forgiveness is more than just saying the words, “I forgive you.” True forgiveness is the desire to purge out of me all resentment, bitterness, hate and revengeful thoughts against the person who has offended us.
Forgiveness does not deny the person’s wrongdoing or turn a blind eye to their action against us. We can only truly forgive others when we see sin for what it really is. As C.S. Lewis has said; “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all is horror, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness.” We must realize that God is the one who has forgiven us of all our inexcusable acts against Him, the sum of which would far outweigh the wrong that others have done to us.
In view of this we should forgive those who have hurt us and reflect God’s love and forgiveness for us. As we do this God will give us relief from the pain and bitterness that has been inside of us and bring reconciliation to relationships as God has reconciled us to Him.
So why is forgiving others so hard? Because we want easy forgiveness or desire the situation to just magically disappear. But remember that the forgiveness that Jesus brought was not easy; He had to die on a cross for us. Or forgiveness is hard because we like to hold onto the bitterness and use it against others, this though is opposed to the heart of God. Forgiveness might not be easy, but it is worth it and is best for us in our relationships with others and especially with God (look at Matt. 6:14-15). Right now we might need to forgive a parent, our children, co-workers, etc… To truly forgive others, we must see that it is impossible without God, for only He can help us purge all resentment and bitterness and desire reconciliation. Let us rely upon God’s heart, God’s love and God’s power to forgive others fully as God has forgiven us.