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Incomprehensible Forgiveness

I can remember the first time I had to forgive someone whom I thought did not deserve my forgiveness. The pain he had caused in my life was monumental. Our relational situation would have been totally avoidable if he had simply been under the slightest amount of self-control. As for myself, I was a physical and emotional mess! I could not focus on my work, my parenting, my home, my finances, or myself. All of my energy was directed toward solving our problem by solving his problem. I spent valuable time brooding and sorting out my life. The effects of his sin against me were grievous, intolerable, and impossible to forgive--or so I thought.

If you are anything like me, you have experienced the pain of someone else's hurtful actions against you. The sorrow and suffering we feel because of someone else's sin against us can become personally crippling. As we dredge through the emotional and physical effects of relational harms, we often ignore the impact of the spiritual aspects of life when dealing with other's sin, and create a new problem for ourselves. This was certainly the case with me.

During that time, I began to question my own judgment. More importantly, I began to question God's judgment. Why hadn't He done anything about this person? Why hadn't He helped me? Where was God? Eventually, I realized God was not waiting on me to solve my problem by myself. God was wanting me to trust Him. I began to search the Scripture and ask God, "What do you want from me?" God was faithful to show me the answer.

God needed me to obediently forgive. I began to read verse after verse about my responsibility to forgive others, "Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32)." I was stuck in a pattern of unforgiveness. I built walls of sin on the foundation of sin against me. I had failed to realize that I had been forgiven, by the blood of Jesus, just like he had. Worst of all, I had failed to forgive just as I had been forgiven. I needed to live out Mark 11:25, "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive your trespasses." Clearly, my sinful response to the sin against me wasn't going to go anywhere until I forgave the sinner and acknowledged my own sin before God! And so, I did just that.

Did he deserve it? No. Could he have earned it from me? No. Was I more concerned with hurt than love? Yes. I was fixated on my own pain. I was focused on the hurtful space between him and me. And I was ignoring the example set before me by Jesus Christ, who perfectly forgave me, when I was an atrocious sinner too. That kind of incomprehensible forgiveness is only available through the death and resurrection of Christ, who is able to forgive all sin.

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