Let’s get back to it. Shall we?
If you have not read Part 1, I suggest you do so before reading this post. It may help you better understand. Find it here: Forgive But Never Forget.
In Part 1, we learned the meaning of forgiveness in the Biblical sense. Webster’s Dictionary says it means, “to cease to feel resentment against (an offender); pardon; to give up resentment of or claim to requital; and to grant relief from payment of.” That’s a very interesting take on forgiveness. We can work with that.
You know, it’s funny. We could know the definition of forgiveness and still not feel prepared to forgive. First thing’s first: we don’t have to feel like forgiving someone. It’s a choice. Secondly, there are various hindrances (obstacles) to forgiveness. We’ll explore one of them in this post. It may be yours.
One of the hindrances to forgiveness is having the wrong ideology.
Many of us are so hurt when someone commits an offence against us because we believe we’d never do that if we were them . Truthfully, many of us are right. We’d never do what they did under those same circumstances. However, sometimes it takes a different set of circumstances for us to commit the same kind of offence.
During my freshman year of college, our university’s president, Dr. Mark Rutland, said something that completely changed my life. He said (this is as accurate as I can remember), “Every human being is capable of committing the most heinous act.” He went on to explain that while people may have to be motivated by different things, they are capable of doing the same terrible thing.
You may say, “I would never cheat on someone.” The reality is: you have the capacity to cheat in a relationship. While they may have cheated on you because they were bored or manipulative, you may cheat because you feel neglected. See? Same offence. Different motivations. Realizing that we too are capable of doing what someone did to us can help forgiveness and grace (we need to talk about that; another time perhaps) to overwhelm our hearts.
“Well, I haven’t cheated before! Never in my life!” You’re right. You may not have. However, consider that it may be simply because you’ve not been presented with the right opportunity and the right motivation. Just something to think about…
This idea works in tandem with this increasingly popular phrase, “don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.” “But Darveiye, I didn’t do anything as bad as they did! I’ve never done what they did!” This is part of the problem. We ascribe levels to sin and conveniently our sin is never really “that bad.” We can easily find justification for our every deed. We struggle to forgive because we see their sin differently than our own.
For example, many of us may see someone having premarital sex (sex outside of marriage) as being worse than the “little white lie” we told. To God, it’s all sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”
This means everyone is inclined to sin and cannot meet God’s standard of righteousness on their own (this is why Christ came). We are all born with a sinful nature that yearns to do what is contrary to the nature of the God who created us. This is important because it means no matter whether you lie, cheat, or murder, we’re ALL in need of grace and forgiveness. There’s that word again.
Grace. It sounds so pretty; but it’s messy, profound, and reckless. See, God didn’t wait until we got our act together to reconcile us back to Himself. He didn’t wait for a 90-day money-back guarantee. He did it while we were still in our mess. “For God demonstrates His love toward us; in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” The Bible talks about the fact that people will rarely die for a good man, let alone a bad one. Yet, God didn’t need our guarantee when He made the decision to rescue us.
That’s another hindrance to forgiveness: we want a guarantee. We want to know that if we forgive someone, they’ll never do it again. We want to know that if we forgive someone, they’ll spend so much time “making it up to us.” There is no “making it up” in forgiveness. Forgiveness removes the very requirement to “make it up” or “pay the debt.”
Some questions to ponder…
Do you have the courage to forgive someone today even if you’re not sure they’ll change their ways? Will you forgive them even if they didn’t think they needed your forgiveness? Will you forgive them while they’re still in their mess? It doesn’t mean you have to go back to the same level of intimacy you once shared with that person; but will you forgive? Will you let go?
There are many other hindrances to forgiveness that I’d like to explore. So, stay tuned for another post in the very near future!
Before you go, I’d like to say (type) a prayer over you.
I thank You for being good even when we’re not. Thank You for being good even when the world around us is not. God, thank you for forgiving us. Give us the strength and peace to forgive those who have hurt us. Help us see how we have hurt others. Heal us from the pain. Make us new again.
In Yeshua’s (Jesus) Name,
Over and out.
*I do not own (the rights to) the featured photo.