Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. Jeremiah 8:12
1. Forgiveness is hard because ~ the offender doesn’t want forgiveness.
I can make strong personal vows to never forgive someone for what they did. I feel so powerful and in control when I withhold it. It feels like justice. The problem is ~ the person who offends usually only takes partial, or no responsibility for it. Because they don’t own it, why would they care if it’s forgiven? I can think I’m punishing them but in actuality, they are living scot-free and not even thinking about what they did, much less thinking about me.
Oh, how difficult it is to come to this conclusion. My so-called punishment of them is really punishing myself. My heart suffers, my mind suffers as I obsess, and my body suffers the effects of how bitterness is being played out pathologically. The only one who appears to be thriving is the perpetrator.
If I watch the evening news for one week, I will undoubtedly hear a victim’s family make this vow. “I’ll never forgive them for what they did.” It’s the only sense of control they can seize and it feels weighty. For the most part, in that moment, they fail to understand that the one who committed the crime doesn’t care about forgiveness withheld.
I need to conform my thinking to biblical standards. I don’t choose to forgive because someone has asked for it and I don’t withhold it because someone will suffer if I do. I choose to forgive because I belong to Jesus and my life is not my own. As He forgave me, I am to forgive others. As His pardon of me was outrageous, so mine is to be of the same nature.
The way of the disciple is a pathway carved out by Jesus. I place my feet in the sandaled footprints in front of me. When it’s difficult, and most of it is, I ask for grace. Forgiveness is the only way I will be free to soar on the pleasures that can be mine in His presence. I need to just trust God’s promise and I can tell you, personally, that when I have taken the leap, the freedom afforded an energy I never knew existed.
Your law brings life, even when it doesn’t feel like it will. Thank you. Amen