Colossians 3:13 – …bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Have you ever had to be forgiven for something? Have you ever had to forgive someone? I can pretty much assume we have all been on both sides of forgiveness.
Phillip Yancey refers to forgiving others as “the scandal of forgiveness.” I love that! The scandal of forgiveness is that forgiveness does not make sense. It’s not natural, it’s not human nature. It’s scandalous!
When we feel wronged, our human nature tells us, “You have been sinned against. You deserve to be upset, and apologized too. That person needs to come and admit what they did was wrong, and THEN maybe I’ll forgive them. It all depends if they are sincere or not.” *sigh*
Human nature wants to ‘teach them a lesson’ doesn’t it? But doing life God’s way turns it all around! What’s so amazing about grace is that it doesn’t make human sense. Learning about forgiveness starts with JESUS. He went to the cross to forgive us of our sins. He was blameless. There was nothing in Him that deserved death on cross, yet; He went there for you, and for me. He bridged the huge chasm of sin between God and us.
Even as Jesus hung on the cross, one of the thieves next to him asked for forgiveness for his sins as he was dying. Jesus knew full well that it was a request of desperation. But Jesus responded, “… you will be with me in paradise…”. He forgave. Grace. It’s scandalous. The love God has for us was scandalously given through His Son Jesus.
Forgiveness is a tough thing isn’t it? We have our pride to cut through. Sometimes that can be pretty challenging.
Have you ever had a conflict with someone, a friend, a spouse, a family member – and after the conflict you wait, and wait… for that person to come to you FIRST to resolve it? I sure have. I have gritted my teeth, and set my jaw and said, “Nope, they have to come to me first, and THEN we’ll talk about it!” Oh how wrong that is… There’s a natural destructive cycle that stems from this way of thinking.
We have pain. Then we blame. Then the pain returns because we haven’t resolved our pain and oftentimes anger with the other person involved. So then we blame them again for not coming to us to resolve the original pain. And the cycle goes on and on.
UNTIL, someone steps up to the plate and shatters that cycle and says: “Enough!”
Many times forgiveness is downright UN-fair. Hindu’s believe in karma. Karma is when you get what you deserve.
But for Christians, forgiveness is getting and giving what is UN-deserved. It’s grace. Think about what it would be like if WE got what we deserved? Yikes. In the same way, God calls us to extend the hand of forgiveness through the love of Jesus, to those who have hurt us expecting nothing in return.
Phillip Yancey writes, “Forgiveness offers a way out. It does not settle all questions of blame and fairness – often it pointedly evades those questions – but it does allow a relationship to start over, to begin anew.”
Is there someone in your life you need to forgive? Or someone you need to ask for forgiveness from? Don’t wait. Unforgiveness is one of the worst prisons we can be in. God doesn’t want us sitting in that prison being hurt, angry and separated from loved ones. I’ve certainly been on both sides way too many times to count. I’ve done forgiveness, and I’ve greatly failed at it.
Life is fragile. It’s fleeting. Don’t waste a second of it living in unforgiveness. Be scandalous today – forgive as He calls us to forgive! When someone asks you how you are today, respond, “I’m feeling scandalous!” It’ll be a great conversation starter I’m sure!
God bless you all!!!