It has been awhile, but today I will address yesterday’s postaday topic – Why is it so hard to forgive?
I just love it when God’s voice resounds with sacred echoes. This is one of those times!
Yesterday’s David Wilkerson’s Daily Devotions topic had to do with forgiveness. The key verse was Matthew 5:44.
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
David pointed out that the writer of Proverbs advises:
“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11).
The question that caught my heart is this: What could “it is his glory to ‘pass over’ a transgression” mean? Here’s my take…
As the Israelites were preparing for their grand escape from Egypt, God instructed them to apply the blood of the “Passover” lamb on their doorposts. When the angel of death came to their home, he would “pass over” that home and the first born’s life would be spared.
This is just the picture we need when we are faced with the question of how we will respond to those who wound us or in any way cause harm. Will we choose to see them through the eyes of God – as covered with the blood of Christ, His forgiveness, and His love? If we do not, then we will seek vengeance and death is at hand – often our own death, in that we become dead – unresponsive – to our own forgiveness in Christ.
And then comes the sure bondage to the evil one, as our ears are deadened to the voice of God and His nature in us. Unforgiveness overtakes us, and like the servant in Matthew 18 who was forgiven a massive debt only to turn around and have his fellow servant who owed him so little thrown into prison, we become harsh and allow our actions to mirror our enemy, Satan, and to become his tools of evil in others’ lives.
So, the next time you are offended, hurt, wounded by another, follow Jesus’ commandment: bless, do good, and pray! It’s your freedom and peace and victory that are at stake! That doesn’t mean you have to make those who hurt you your best friends, distance just might be the necessary thing, but you can obey God’s commandment on their behalf – location does not alter obedience to His command or the effectiveness of praying for and blessing others. The best good we can do anyone is to cover them with prayer and do spiritual battle on their behalf to rid them of the power and influence of evil, deception, bondage, and blindness.
Then, to continue the sacred echo, in the Proverbs 31 Ministry devotion today, Lysa TerKeurst also addressed the need for moderating our responses to those who hurt us and be intentional in how we choose forgiveness over vengeance. She shared some very practical steps that when followed help us to slow and down and respond with the love of Christ, rather than retaliation.
So, why is it so hard to forgive? I am certain the answer is multi-layered, but I think the main reason is the shallowness of our own being. We speak of love, but our way of love has little or nothing to do with love as revealed and defined by God. We speak of forgiveness, but we prefer a one-way deal like the servant in Matthew 18. We speak of devotion, but we really mean only if it is convenient. We tell others to call us if they need help, but it’s not what we really mean because really we don’t want to be inconvenienced, we just want to sound nice.
And even more to the point, we resist being truly present in our own pain and even more in our own sin. We run away, we pretend we are not really hurting, we blame others… we resist and we disengage. If we can’t be present with our own pain, how can we be present with others’ pain? How can we look beyond the harm others do to us to see into what is driving their behaviors? How can we truly pray for them with the intent to do them good and bless them?
We need to sit in the Presence of God and ask Him to reveal the depth of our sin and its impact, so that we can truly understand the depth of His forgiveness for each of us individually and all of us corporately. For when we truly understand just how much He has forgiven us, it would be unthinkable to not offer forgiveness to others.
In this, rush and busyness are not our friends. Neither is shallowness – whether it is in our thought processes, our emotional framework, our choices of will, or our spiritual lives. A deep touch of God requires time and attention to fully process and turn into a way of living!
Here’s to taking time and discovering the depth of God’s forgiveness in each of our lives! And to a day when we by nature choose to do the hard work of recognizing our own forgiveness and we freely and joyfully offer that same forgiveness to all whose lives touch our lives.