Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Love Your Enemy 3: Forgive

Forgiveness is hard.

Here's something for you to think about.  Why couldn't God just forgive sin?  Why did anybody have to die about it?  Couldn't God just forgive it and it be over with?

Maybe.  Or maybe such a question comes from a misunderstanding of forgiveness.

Forgiveness costs.  In an ultimate sense, it costs.  Say you stole something, five dollars from your friend.  To forgive you, that friend has to incur the cost of five dollars.  It cost that person five dollars to forgive you.  That person cannot just forgive you and not have to eat that five dollars.

God is the same way.  God is forgiving, but God is also just.  If God were to forgive you without incurring that cost, he would sacrifice his justice for the sake of his forgiveness.  But he is just and he is forgiving at the same time.  So he pays the price so that his justice and his mercy are fulfilled at the same time.

Forgiveness for you is the same way.  You can't "just let it go."  It hurts you to forgive, even if you don't realize it immediately.  Jesus said if someone asks for forgiveness seventy times seven times, we should forgive.  He was probably being facetious, but I think it's obvious we should always forgive.  And maybe that means we become people of sorrows, just as he was.

But the joy comes in the morning.

When teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus said "forgive our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."  In forgiveness, we release the other person to collect their ultimate dues and we don't drag ourselves down with them.  Unforgiveness is like eating poison and expecting the other person to die.

No comments: