As a Christian, one of the things I have struggled with most is the art of forgiveness. I have noticed that over the past few years especially I have had a tendency of blocking people out of my life once they do something that I don’t agree with, or do anything against me in a negative way. And while sometimes you may need to burn a bridge to keep the crazies from running after you, a lot of times disagreements can be settled and friendships can be mended. I have seen many friends, family members, and even people I used to attend church with come and go out of my life due to different issues that have arose. Looking back, about ninety-eight percent of those issues could have been solved by saying a quick, “I forgive you,” and forgetting the reason for the dispute altogether.
“But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:15
I’ll admit, though I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at age 8, I never dug into the Word like I should have until last year. Still adamant that I was right to have burned bridges in the past so to speak, when I came across Matthew 6:15, it finally hit home for me that I had not been living my life and forgiving others in the way that God instructs us to do.
See, this is where the hard part comes in. If we have cut ties with someone who we have had a, let’s just say, a falling out with, then it can be difficult to get back in touch with that person. Additionally, if that person has wronged us or sinned against God in such a way that we have a difficult time coping with the issue, it can be increasingly hard to forgive them for their trespasses. Personally, I’ve been through each scenario with people in my life, and I’m just now learning to cope with it in a way that I think God would advocate.
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” -Titus 3:3-6
I came across this verse last Friday while I was reading the Bible, and upon reading it I now understand that we have to approach the act of forgiving others just as Jesus did when He died for our sins on the cross. No, I’m definitely not saying that we should crucify ourselves; Jesus paid that debt! However, Jesus didn’t overthink our sins, meaning that He didn’t ask questions or pry into our reasoning behind committing our sins. Instead, Jesus accepted the fact that we sinned, and cleaned our slate. The fact is, every last one of us has sinned in our lifetime, and we expect God to continually show us His grace and mercy every time we screw up. So, shouldn’t we continually shed grace and mercy on others when they do bad things?
“But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.”
-Relient K, “Be My Escape”
It’s absolutely no secret that “Be My Escape” by Relient K is my favorite song. I first heard it about a year ago, and I’ve been blasting it repetitively ever since. Despite the fact that I listen to it entirely too much, there was always one lyric that I didn’t understand at all… until I was listening to the song on the way to school this morning: “But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.” For the past year I’ve been confused about the meaning of this line, thinking that life is pretty fair considering that God sacrificed His son to pay for our sins; if unfair play is at hand, it was dealt to Jesus. Anyway, today I thought about it from the point-of-view of the forgiver and the trespasser instead. The trespasser has made a terrible mistake, and sometimes, though the issue can be fixed, the forgiver and the trespasser must live with the consequences of said transgression. Henceforth, though grace is shed, it’s still not fair that the forgiver in the situation still has to live with the consequences of something they had or wanted no part in. Kinda like Jesus when He bled on the cross for us, right (even though He willingly gave His life)?
Forgiveness is hard. Forgetting is harder. But Jesus has done both for us millions upon millions of times, after suffering the most unfair consequences. Don’t you think we can be a little more merciful to people in our own lives?
Goodnight and God bless!
Image attributed to: mybible.com