I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to forgive others, and this has given me fresh appreciation of the forgiveness God offers.
Here’s a test: Think of one person who wronged you whom you struggle to forgive. Now, think of one person who wronged you whom you have utterly forgiven.
Now which person came to mind more easily?
In my case, it’s the first. One or two folks quickly come to mind who have wronged me, whose actions have cost me in some way. Those memories are hard to forget. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the grudge-holding type. I can let go of things pretty easily. But if I’m honest, I have to admit that there are a few people in the world who I would be content to never bump into again. As long as that’s the case, I can’t really say that I’ve forgiven them from my heart. But, I can think of something that’s even harder than forgiving someone else…
Needing Forgiveness is Harder
At least for me.
I know that somebody somewhere in the world thinks of me when they think of people they struggle to forgive.
I hate that. But, I don’t blame them. I know my life.
Needing God’s Forgiveness is Hardest
So, this just makes me think about the forgiveness God offers us. It’s amazing to me that God forgives at all, because He’s not a “No problem,” “No worries,” “Don’t sweat it” kind of God.
You may remember the story of David, the ancient King of Israel of David and Goliath fame. Once upon a time, one of his own personal scandals was exposed. Can you say adultery and murder? Now, that’s two very hard-to-forgive offenses against at least two people (Bathsheba and her husband). And yet, when David prayed for forgiveness, he wrote, “Against You, and You alone have I sinned…”(Psalm 51:4). Why did he say that? It’s not that he misunderstood what he had done, it’s that he knew that God alone was the lawgiver and judge of lawbreakers.
So if, as my example shows, it’s hard for imperfect people to forgive one another, then how much harder must it be for a perfect God to forgive undeserving people…
like me, for example?
Forgiveness isn’t Cheap
How did He pull it off? How can God offer forgiveness to undeserving me, without abandoning His perfect justice? Like any human judge He can’t just let me off just because I’m repentant, because I say I’m sorry.
It must have cost Him. I can’t even imagine how it must have cost Him.
On the cross where Jesus hung, infinite justice met infinite obedience. The Lawgiver looked on a perfect Lawkeeper who offered Himself as a substitute for innumerable lawbreakers.
And God accepted the price.
He counted his justice against me satisfied. For His Son’s sake He offered me unconditional, eternal forgiveness.
But it killed Him to do it.
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. – Jesus (Matthew 26:28)
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