Forgiveness is hard. Forgiveness is difficult. Forgiveness, at times, can be burdensome.
The hurt was so deep. The betrayal was so real. The pain was so lasting. The offense was so unexpected. The lack of remorse was so unexpected. The offender was so close.
But, as Christians, forgiveness is so...required.
At the end of the day, forgiveness for others is really the litmus test of whether or not we truly have received the forgiveness of God.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of an infinite debt of sin against a Holy God, yet we cannot forgive a finite debt of sin committed by a sinful man?
Forgiven people forgive people. There really is no way around it.
But, as much as I understand that truth, over the years, there have been many people I have struggled to forgive. From my personal experience, here is a list of "clues" that reveal that forgiveness, very likely, has yet to take place.
- I want them to be exposed.
- I want them to fail and struggle in life.
- When I see them being trusted, I get mad.
- When I see them enjoying life, I get frustrated.
- When I see them making progress, I get angry.
- I want them to hurt in the same way they hurt me.
- I want someone to do to them what they did to me.
- I want them to apologize to me for what they did to me.
- I want them to apologize to others for what they did to me.
But what I've come to realize is that forgiveness isn't as much about them as it is about me...
- Trusting the Lord.
- Believing the best.
- Absorbing the pain.
- Releasing the vindication.
This isn't easy, by any means. But, it is necessary to live the life of freedom that God desires us to enjoy. It is necessary for the gospel to be displayed. It is necessary for God to be glorified.
If you find struggling on this journey of forgiving those who have hurt you, I encourage you to pray this with me, daily, as the Lord instructs us to, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass over us."