Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Forgiveness. It's Not What You Think.

I have been putting off writing this post for a while.  I didn't want anyone thinking they knew/trying to figure out who this post is about.  So, I've waited what I think is an appropriate length of time - let's call it a mourning period.  Besides, this isn't about any one person.  Well.  It is about one person.  Me.  And my journey of finding forgiveness through Christ.

It is not in human nature to forgive.  Our natural tendency is to want things to be even.  If we feel that we, or someone we love has been wronged, we want it remedied.  We simply do.
However, as Christians we are called to die to ourselves, and one of the very real outcomes of that is forgiveness.
I've heard unforgiveness (my computer just tried telling me unforgiveness isn't a word - let me reassure you, it most certainly is) described as drinking poison, and expecting your enemy to die.  It's true.  When we harbor negative feelings towards someone, it doesn't affect them - they either don't know, or don't care about the offense.  The only person it is hurting is yourself.  So let's talk about how we can make our way to forgiveness and healing.

People are not always nice.  People who say they are Christians are not always nice.  Christians are not always nice.  So, what do we do when we feel genuinely hurt by someone, especially someone who is supposed to be a brother or sister in the Lord?  Because as much as we would like to think that this sort of thing doesn't happen, unfortunately, I'm here to tell you that it does.  Even to people in ministry.  Especially to people in ministry.

Last week in church, we were singing a "new" version of Amazing Grace, when it dawned on me, that in the same way that Jesus died for my sins, he also died for the sins committed against me.  I'm not going to sugar-coat it.  Sometimes there truly are sins committed against us.  Not just someone being rude, or snippy, not just forgetting our birthday - real, painful, biblical sins.  But how can we expect/hope for God's forgiveness in our lives, and yet begrudge it from someone else.  Because that's where I was at.  I didn't want to forgive, and I didn't want God to forgive them either.  I wanted Him to punish them.  Because that's how our society works.  If you commit a crime (and are caught for it), you pay the fine/do the time.  And while there are consequences for all our actions, God is a God of grace - to us, and those who hurt us.

I was being Jonah.  I was hurt, and wanted those around me to hurt too.  I felt like these people needed to know how they made me feel, and suffer the consequences.  But you know what?  While confronting someone for their transgressions is fine, and healthy, it still can't come out of a place of unforgiveness.  Or else the motive is wrong.  We have to forgive the person whether it is asked for or not.  Whether they think they've done anything wrong or not.
Because at the end of the day, we will all stand before God, and I would rather be humbled, and forgive someone who probably didn't "deserve" it, in my mind - even though I don't "deserve" forgiveness either - than have to account for harboring ill-will towards someone.  God will deal with the sin in someone else's life, in the same way he would with ours.  He WILL come to our defense, but not on our schedule.  We have to be willing to do the right thing, even when it hurts so bad you want to throw your hands up and cry.  

Because forgiveness is hard.  It feels backwards and unnatural.  You know the song "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"?  I respectfully disagree with Elton John.  "I forgive you" - whether said out loud, or in your heart - is the hardest thing to say.

And yet, I'm saying it.  I forgive you for mistreating me, I forgive you for using me, I forgive you for hurting me.  Not because you deserve it, not because I deserve it, but because it is a commandment, and because if I don't forgive you, I have no business asking God to forgive me (Matthew 6:15).  I am being obedient, even though it's hard.  We seem to forget that following Christ means we WILL be hated and persecuted (Matthew 10:22).  It's not the lovey-dovey part of being a Christian.  It's the nitty-gritty, real life stuff.  It's the stuff that makes or breaks you.  And my salvation is worth more than holding unforgiveness in my heart.


  1. Hi,
    You are so right about forgiveness! It's great though that God is not in a hurry while he is waiting that we get ready to do the right thing. I was so inspired by your previous family photo post that we got our Christmas picture done already... matching to your colors, as it happened I had been shopping for me and S lately in those tones, too. Great minds think alike! ;P I'm sorry but I have lost your e-mail address! Could you, please drop me a little note so that I have it again? Thanks!

    1. Hi Johanna, it's so nice to hear from you! I would love to see your family pictures! Please email me at! I hope your whole family is doing wonderfully! Miss you all!