Forgiving others is not about second chances. Forgiving others is about freeing yourself from the pain caused by the harmful actions of others.
But Daniel, what about the criminal on the cross who was saved by Jesus? Jesus, Father and Spirit always trump the actions of mankind. What is impossible with man is possible with God. These are more of the paradoxes presenting themselves in our journeys as Christians. There are things we cannot fathom that just are.
Failing to forgive others will leave a path of destruction that ends very badly. Even those whose faith is not in Jesus preach forgiveness. Every secular counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist and support group leader is at this very moment striving to encourage their patients/group members to forgive someone for the pain they are going through.
Had I been convicted of this fact eighteen years ago I fight not be writing these words on a blog. Anger, hate and refusal to forgive put the Godfather movies on the big screen, hence they are my favorite films. You will die alone like Don Corleone if you refuse to forgive others. Your family, friends and acquaintances will want nothing to do with you if you are an angry old man or woman.
Satan and his network of angels and demons will make you feel justified in your hate, and they will convince you that you are right for harboring multiple vendettas against your “enemies.” Nothing could be further from the truth. I need to repeat that. Nothing could be further from the truth.
And let me add some things to this. You cannot possibly do this by pulling your boot up by your own boot straps. Any 12-step program will show you that you are not able to save yourself. Forgiveness is not a path of least resistance because the sinful nature is powerful beyond any human being to stand against. You must respect the power of evil because if you don’t you’ll think you can do it by yourself. You can’t. Satan is the father lies, and he leverages fear and deceit to his advantage as he goes down in a blaze of glory.
Our culture scoffs at evil on 30 minutes sitcoms. This is not a laughing matter. This is serious business that calls for serious Jesus followers who are committed to forgiving others and situations that have wreaked havoc on our lives.
And don’t compare your pain and suffering to someone else’s. Don’t do it for one minute. What you are going through is hard, unfair and should not have happened. The only way you are going to get through it is to forgive the jerks who did it to you. And don’t call them names like I just did. That inflames the hate. I’m not saying either that you have to like or love them. Do what it takes to forgive them. It’s going to look different for each one of us. There are of course similarities because we are all human, but once again don’t compare yourself with anyone else.
Life is hard. There’s no two-ways about it. It’s hard. I don’t care if you live in a cardboard box or you have all the money in the world. Life is hard from the box to the mansion. It’s even harder when said individuals refuse to forgive others for the way they let Satan work through them.
And it is ultimately Satan that makes posts like this necessary. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the unseen forces in the heavenly realms. They will penetrate your mind and heart when you alone, and they will also not hesitate to do the same thing when your surrounded by your brothers and sisters in Christ at church. And you thought Satan doesn’t go to church. Please!
Love is the greatest I know. Forgiveness is the second greatest because it’s foundation is love. Does that mean I give someone another opportunity to betray my trust? Absolutely not. It does mean I figure out what the Spirit is communicating to me about the pain caused by others or situations. If your fishing in a certain spot, and you don’t catch any for a length of time or you going to keep casting your line in that spot? You’re going to to find another spot to see if the fish are biting. The same is true for life among humans. There are toxic people you are going to have to separate yourself from because they don’t bring out the best in you. That’s part of forgiveness.
There are nonnegotiables in the life of the Christian. Not everyone you cross paths with is going to be who you should be with long-term. This broken fallen world is filled with pain and suffering, but there are no easy answers when it comes to the pain and suffering we are up against. But we have not been left to figure things out on our own. Jehovah-Jireh is Hebrew for God provider. He’s always been our provider, and He will provide the strength to forgive those who hurt us.
He will provide the strength to forgive ourselves as I wrote about yesterday. Nothing happens in a vacuum, so we have to look at ourselves first before we can see clearly to make decisions about forgiving others.
Those of us who are married and are parenting children are faced with multiple avenues of opportunity as we strive to lean into the love of God to love our spouses and our children. We are going to hurt each other if we haven’t already. Make the decision now that you are going to forgive yourself and your spouse for the pain you caused yourself and them.
Satan loves to divide and conquer, and this is painfully obvious in our families. Even if mom and dad divorce forgiveness is essential to our collective healing. You cannot possibly think that forgiveness is not an option.
And Jesus made it possible. His blood literally covers all sin. His was the ultimate sacrifice beyond bulls and goats. His was a pure and undefiled offering for eternity that gave mankind the power to forgive. No longer is it a dog eat dog world. It’s a “paradise” where we can fully know and fully be known as Jesus talks about in John 17.
Jesus came to earth to go through the worst mankind had to throw at Him so that we could forgive those who hurt us. Look to Jesus. In Him we have unconditional love, and in Him we will have the power to let go of the pain others have caused.