Forgiveness is one of those tricky things that until you get it; it makes no sense. When it comes to forgiving others when they don’t deserve it; that can make it all the more tricky. It’s hard when someone hurts you and you have to be the one to forgive. Sometimes it’s not fair; but let it be known that it wasn’t fair when Jesus carried that cross for you and for me either. And so when it comes to forgiveness forgiving others when they don’t deserve it is just part of life.
So how do you do? Why should you do it? Well; I can give you the obvious. It’s a command. But that doesn’t typically justify it for most people; especially in our self gaining society. It’s not fair that we have to forgive when others did us wrong but here is the thing that must be stressed that I want you to get today.
Your level of forgiveness isn’t about what others have done to you. Period. I want to say get over it but that probably wouldn’t help much so let me share it another way. Your level of forgiveness is between you and God. Period. When you get that your life will change. And I wish someone told me that decades ago. You see; when you forgive you are focusing more on Christ and how He can redeem you than focusing on what others did to you that you can’t change.
When we look outward instead of upward we miss the point. We miss the point of Christ on the cross. We miss the point of His obedience and in laying down the foundation of it along with the message of forgiveness. There is nothing that can’t be done on your behalf but you have to choose. You have to choose to let go what others have done to you. You can harbor it but for what point? What will it get you? Let me tell you what it got me: bitterness, anger, broken relationships, separation from Jesus and a whole lot more. I didn’t feel justified in forgiving others because I was the victim; seriously. I was the victim. But is there the thing. The longer you choose to stay the victim you are just more disobedient and rebellious to God’s Word. And that isn’t a place that I wish for you to stay-trust me!
And so when we examine this further your level of forgiveness is about you making the choice to go to God and lay down you ego. You cannot ‘Edge God Out’ while ‘Edifying God Only’ as you cannot serve two masters. When you go to Him and relinquish the pain of what happened, the emotional attachment to how it made you feel; and what you have harbored you will be restored. You will be restored one step closer to the real you that God intended from the beginning. And all of this has nothing to do with other people or whether or not they deserve to be forgiven. Why? Because the very same thing could be asked of you. Do you deserve to be forgiven for the pain you have caused? What makes you any different? And case in point Jeffrey Dahmer got it- he gave his life to Christ before He was murdered in prison. In other words- none of us are deserving and when we remove our own idea of judgment of right and wrong and understand grace and mercy- we are changed.
If you look at those who have harmed you ask yourself if they truly knew what they were doing. Jesus said it clear: Forgive them Father for they know not what they do. And if we follow that how much do any of us really know what we are doing? So then how possibly are we to the ones to play God and choose whether or not to forgive when the Word tells us to forgive. It’s for our protection, healing, peace of mind and obedience that we must remove everyone and everything else from being a distraction so we can place our focus where it should be: our relationship with Christ and obedience for obedience is worth more than sacrifice.
The best news of it all is that when you release the pain of the hurt you are free. The more free you are the more able you are to love and see people as Jesus. The more love you have within you the more you are then able to follow the greatest commands which are to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. Whether or not someone else is deserving of your forgiveness then isn’t even the focus because you seek the best things; the things above. And that is where the true freedom is. Recognize that regardless of where you are or they are; you and we are all the same. So forgive. Be the example of freedom that frees others. Jesus did it for you. So be like Him and do it too.