This is a faithful and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. I Timothy 1:15
4. Forgiveness is hard because ~ I believe that some people just shouldn’t be forgiven.
If my husband, Ron, had been one of the casualties of 9/11, would it have been hard to forgive the pilots who hijacked the planes that leveled the World Trade Center? If my parents had been victims of the holocaust in Auschwitz or one of the present day casualties in Syria, would it be hard to forgive Adolph Hitler and/or Bashar al-Hassad? The worse the crime, and the more personal the crime, the more the ability to forgive is impaired.
It’s easy to forgive lesser sins committed against me. It’s also easier to forgive someone when they have hurt me rather than someone close to me. I wonder if every person has a hidden category of sins they consider unforgivable. I suspect it’s pretty common. When that awful thing happens, we relegate the person who did it into a special group of people. We believe that this person is outside the veil of a pardon. His crime was too great. You’ve heard this saying, right? “I can forgive most things but definitely not that!”
Aren’t you glad God doesn’t have special categories of sins? The Apostle Paul admitted that of all sinners, he was the worst of them. I believe it’s Steve Brown, the founder of Key Life, who said, “I am the worst sinner I know.” I often feel that way. It’s humbling to come to realize that God’s heart is driven by love and mercy and mine is not. I have limits. He does not. If He did, I wouldn’t be His child.
What do I do when I come up against an offense so devastating that I swear I just don’t have it in me to extend forgiveness? I talk to God about it and confess it. “Lord, I’m not like You. I don’t understand your radical love and mercy. It is simply out of reach for me to produce it. Forgive me. Give me a heart of mercy like yours and the grace to extend it. Live through me and do what I can not do.”
If Hitler, or Hassad, or Sadam Hussein had seen Jesus in all of His glory just moments before they died and then cried out to be saved, would they be in heaven? Absolutely. At that point, they’d be no different than the thief on the cross. When I think I’m better than they are, I have work to do.
Obliterate my special category – by the power of Your Spirit. Amen