- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Forgive the Unforgivable Like Jesus Forgave
Who Deserves Forgiveness & Why
Most of my articles have humor in them because humor connects us all. The topic of forgiving others is so serious, so necessary that humor has no place in this discussion. This is a discussion of why forgiveness is easier for some to give away.
We, as Christians, know "forgive, and you will be forgiven;" (Luke 6:37) Forgiveness is at the essence of the Christian faith. Christians are aware that we are suppose to forgive not "seven times, but seventy seven times." (Matthew 18:22) That does not make forgiving someone any easier. Can we forgive James Holmes for shooting and killing people in the movie theater in Colorado? Can we forgive a thief who has stolen our TV? Can we forgive our brother or sister in Christ Jesus for wearing the wrong shirt to church?
Before we can talk about why forgiveness is easier for some to dole out, we need to know who deserves such blind forgiveness. Does Jimmy Swaggart, Joel Osteen, Mother Teresa or the Pope deserve forgiveness?
You don't even deserve the forgiveness your received. As believers in Christ Jesus we are required to forgive the way Jesus forgave us. Why should you and I have to forgive the unforgivable? Why don't we ask Jesus? The Man who hung Himself upon the cross (Matthew 20:28; I Timothy 2:6). The Man who was beaten, bloodied and bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). The Man who washed you and me clean of the dirty rags we attempted to wear in the presence of God. Who would this man say deserves forgiveness? His response would be, "No one does; it's a gift." Ephesians 2:8, 9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Jesus forgave you when you didn't deserve it. He forgave you when you were sinning in the face of God. The verses "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, (Romans3:23)" and "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, (5:8)" proves this fact. There is the why behind forgiving the unforgivable. No one, including you and I, deserve forgiveness. Christ Jesus forgive your deepest, darkest secret, the one that can't even bring yourself to say out loud. That is why we forgive; out of our love for Jesus and not because the person deserves it. Just like He did.
Buckets of Grace
That is easier said than done, I know. How do we pour out "buckets of grace" on someone who doesn't deserve it? I have heard, and I am sure you have too, of the Christian who forgives the drunk driver who killed their child. I have also heard the stories of unbelievers saying they will never go to church because of the Christian who couldn't forgive them for saying something inappropriate in church. These are two extremely different reactions from true believers. What makes one forgive the heinous and one to hold onto a perceived slight?
"And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that He (Jesus) was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with the ointment.........Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven-for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.' Matthew 7:36-38; 47"
And there it is. A good person, a person who tries and tries, with all their might to live a good life does not have a lot to be forgiven for. They may not perceive God's grace as most of us do. They tend to see it as a sprinkle or a splash. It is like sitting by the pool on a hot summer's day, the sun shining down on your face. The warmth from the sunlight wells up in you like a warm cinnamon roll fresh from the oven. You begin to be uncomfortable from the heat and realize you need something to cool you off. Your eight old splashes you with wave of cool water and you are grateful for the cooling. Don't get me wrong, this person is to be praised for their efforts, not shunned. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)"
Then there are those of us, I am including myself in this group, who desperately try to "keep it together" but can't seem to. Our sins are so many that they weigh us down like an 1500 pound anchor on a canoe. When we first came to Jesus the weight was removed and buckets of grace flowed over our heads. The water of forgiveness caressed our hair back, flowed into our ears and up our nose. The bucket of grace had so much water that our shirts were drenched, hanging to our skin and dripping on the floor. Tears come to my eyes as I type this; the feelings of grace wash back over my heart like a flood. We are so astounded by forgiveness that it never leaves us.
It is easy for those of us who had multiple sins washed away to see others as needing that same forgiveness. So, publicly and privately we forgive without thinking. It is given to everyone. Do not envy us. Do not pray to be like me. It maybe easy for me to forgive but it is also much easier for me to stumble. I do not need as many of the lessons of Grace because I ask for it all the time. As Paul says, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing." (Romans 7:19)
As for those who can't forgive, or find it extremely hard to forgive, we must all remember why. It's not there fault. They are keeping the commandments given to us by Jesus Christ which shows how much they love Him. Do not judge this Christian, pray for them, as they pray for you.
We all have our struggles, we do not need to judge each other for these shortcoming. In Christ's love we are living, in Christ's love we need to see each other.