Depending, of course, on the circumstances, there are times where forgiveness may be effortless. For example:
1. When the offense is small. – Recently, my husband broke my favorite mug. It was a blue M&M mug and I loved it. Of course I didn’t stay mad. It is, after all, just a mug. While I was initially annoyed, it was a small offense that was easy to forgive.
2. When the person is sorry. – If a person has wronged us, in some way, and they are groveling and begging for forgiveness, it does make it a bit easier to forgive them. We’re often made uncomfortable by another’s pleading and we just want it to stop. So, we forgive them.
3. When we care about the person. – It’s easy to forgive someone we love and care about. As a matter of fact, it’s fairly easy for us to just overlook their faults. When we care about the person and we care about preserving the relationship, forgiveness comes, almost, naturally.
But, there are times where forgiveness isn’t quite so easy. For example:
1. When the offense is large. – If you were, say, abused as a child. Forgiving the parent, relative, teacher, whomever that abused you is going to be difficult. It is far more challenging than forgiving your husband for breaking your favorite mug. Forgiving someone who created a childhood you needed to recover from is extremely difficult.
2. When they’re not sorry. – Many moons ago, I was in an an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. When I finally mustered up the courage to confront him, he laughed in my face. His reaction opened that wound up all over again. I had to start the forgiveness process from the beginning.
3. When we don’t care about the person. – Forgiving someone is nearly impossible when we really don’t care that they exist. If the person who hurt us is no longer in our life, we’re not close to them, it’s easy to neglect the forgiveness process.
When often assume that when forgiveness is difficult, it must be because of our own emotion. We’re holding onto anger, sorrow, regret, bitterness, or resentment. While I do believe our emotions play a huge role in whether or not we forgive, I believe there’s more to it. I believe we also withhold forgiveness because forgiveness isn’t fair.
When someone has hurt us or wronged us, we often feel that they owe us something. Maybe the owe us our childhood back, years of our life back, or perhaps just our happiness back. They don’t deserve our forgiveness. They deserve punishment. They need to get what’s coming to ’em. Truthfully, you’re probably right. They don’t deserve your forgiveness. It’s NOT fair. Forgive anyway.
What we fail to realize, as Christians, is that the cross wasn’t fair. Jesus paid the price that we owed. He wiped away a debt that we created. The wrath of God was poured out on the cross. We deserved that wrath, but Jesus took it. He took our sin, He took our shame, He took our guilt, He took our chains and He gave Himself freely. While we were still sinners, God loved us enough to send His son to die for us. The cross wasn’t fair. It was mercy.
We tell people all the time that forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for the person doing the forgiving. In a sense, I would agree with that. Forgiveness sets you free from the person who hurt you. But, don’t just forgive for yourself, forgive because Christ poured out His blood for you. Forgive because God has forgiving the unforgivable, the unjustifiable, and the inexcusable in you.
Forgiveness wipes away a debt, it wipes away what is owed. It’s mercy. It’s love. It’s divine. Forgive, because you’ve been forgiven.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13