Forgiveness, in its self can easily be viewed as the “F” word, unless of course we are the ones receiving the extended forgiveness.
Yet again, I’ve been pondering forgiveness—wondering why it’s so difficult to partake of—why is forgiving so painful?
I’m reminded that forgiving is personal. It is easy to forgive an offense that didn’t personally affect you. But forgiving a wrongdoing that was committed directly to you, is very painstaking.
Forgive defined as: To grant pardon for an offense, debt, etc.; absolve. To cease to feel resentment against.
I did not grow up with forgiveness as a way of life and I can vividly remember the first time I had to forgive. Truthfully, the whole concept shocked me. Since then I have had a multitude of opportunities to practice forgiving—as I’m sure most of us have. Now forgiveness is my lifestyle.
Of recent, God has added a twist to my lifestyle of forgiveness. He has asked me to forgive and love the person needing the forgiveness, as if the hurtful event never happened.
This is momentous for me. I do not have issue with forgiving or with obeying the Lords directives, but when it comes to living as if IT never happened—my heart groans. This might mean interacting with those that have hurt me, helping, loving and caring for them—being vulnerable—putting my heart on the line—again. Heart ache is my least favorite and I do well to avoid people who cause it.
I’m certain my prayer to be more like Jesus has landed me at this precipice. The example the Lord gave me, when He was talking to me about this, made that fact clear…
When I was fifteen and sixteen, I became pregnant from my high school sweetheart. Both times we aborted the baby. Age eighteen is when I first encountered God’s miraculous forgiveness. His love went deep. He forgave me of my sin of abortion, He healed me, washed me clean of guilt, shame and condemnation. If that wasn’t enough, He remembered it no more—as if IT never happened. Every time God and I draw near to each other, He doesn’t think “Maybe she’ll hurt me again by committing abortion.”
The example the Lord gave me was this…He said “I’m not the kind of Father that every time we sit down at a family dinner, reminds you of the abortions—we live together as if your sins never happened.” God does not remember how I grieved Him with my sin and He does not avoid me. He’s asking me and you—yet again, to be like Him—to forgive and love as if IT never happened—even if it hurts.
I never could have paid the debt of the sin I committed. Jesus’ work on the cross paid it for me—He forgave my debt—in turn He requires I forgive the debt of those that sin against me.
Basically forgiveness is made possible, as we withdraw the ability to forgive out of the abundance of forgiveness that God has extended to us. Being human, the ability to forgive as God does is not in us. It is a supernatural work. That’s good news! We do not have to work forgiveness up inside of ourselves—no we just surrender our inability to forgive and love, then receive His ability. His mercy and grace make this possible.
It’s the same with living as if IT never happened—it is a work God does in and through us. Every situation is different and God may not ask you to interact with the person you are forgiving. The person may never even admit their fault. It is all a matter of the heart. God wants our heart to be pure, undefiled so we can know Him more. He wants our heart to be His home.
I’m saying, “Yes Lord, I will forgive and love as if IT never happened. If it means being like You and knowing You more—it’s worth it!”
What about you?
Please be encouraged to love as Jesus loves!
“I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them. I’ll forget they ever sinned!” Jeremiah 31:34