Posted: January 4, 2013 by Dillon in Lifestyle
Tags: , , , , , ,

Forgiveness is, in my opinion, the most challenging part of the Christian walk.  I would argue that forgiveness is one of the most challenging parts of any life.  Different people will claim there are different types of forgiveness: Forgive-and-forget, love my enemy, forgive-but-never-forget, etc.  To further complicate matters, the deeper the wound the harder it is to forgive. Aren’t some actions unworthy of being forgiven?  What if someone sexually abuses you? Or a spouse that cheats on you? Or a friend who stabbed you (metaphorically or literally) in the back?

I think God gives us an illustration.  God, the offended party, took the first step.  While we were still enemies of Him, God had every right to condemn and sever the relationship with us.  But He didn’t.  Instead, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). Yeah, yeah.  That’s all fine and dandy, and probably nothing you haven’t heard before.  But it goes so much deeper.  Forgiveness is one half of the coin.  Reconciliation is dependent on the other person’s apology, or repentance.  It wasn’t enough for God to make the first move with Christ; we must respond with our repentance.  But what does this have to do with forgiving others?

God set in motion so that His forgiveness can be mirrored on Earth.  Dr. Dan Allender states, “Forgiveness involves a heart that cancels the debt but does not lend new money until repentance occurs.”  Let’s unpack that a little bit.  We understand that forgiveness is a way of writing off past wrongs, AND it opens the door for a relationship to be repaired.  Why is it so important for the relationship to be repaired?  We don’t just want someone to apologize for their actions, we want that person to be reconciled with God as well.  This truly requires love.  It is sometimes painfully hard just to say, “I forgive you.” How can we possibly find the will to long for restoration?  In short: The Gospel.

If you tell me, “But I can’t forgive that person for what they did,” all I hear you saying is, “I shouldn’t forgive them because that sin is worse than my sins.” We downplay our own shortcomings and highlight the failings of others.  We selfishly convince ourselves that we deserve forgiveness more than someone else.  Why?  Because we forget that no matter what someone has done to us, we’ve done worse to God.  And yet God still forgave us!  1 John 4:19 is quickly becoming one of my favorite verses.  It states, “We love because he loved us first.”  I wanna take it a step further.  We can forgive because he forgave us first.

Forgiveness is hard.  It means letting go of someone’s wrongs when we have every right to demand payment or justice.  It means absorbing the pain, hurt, shame, and grief of someone’s sin against us.  And that is painful.  It hurts.  But that is exactly what Christ did. We can forgive because he forgave us first.

Click here for a touching example of forgiveness.

This blog post is an adaptation of a study from The Gospel Centered Life.

  1. SEO Company says:

    This is an awesome article, have a lots of good points to take.

  2. […] I’ve written about forgiveness before, but this goes to a whole new level.  […]

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