Have you ever stopped to wonder why forgiveness is so hard? Seriously. It's such a pleasant ideal in theory, but in practice it's the quite possibly the hardest thing to do on the planet. Why does it seem so down right impossible? Why does it feel like losing?
Well, I guess that's because it is. To forgive someone you do have to lose. Whenever there's injury, someone has to live with the pain, and to forgive means you accept it, and the offender goes free. Even though you're not at fault, if you're going to turn the other cheek, you have to absorb the pain so that you don't turn around and inflict the one who hurt you.
I suppose you could liken it to falling on a grenade. If you have a grenade thrown at you, you can do one of three things. You can run, but then who knows who'll end up collateral damage. You can throw it back, which I must admit is quite alluring, but that can't stop the fire from spreading, it just redirects it. There is one other thing you can do though. You can fall on it. Absorb it. Take the explosion and die the death. Let everyone around you live.
And you know, whenever we forgive there's always a death involved. Isn't there? That's why Jesus had to die for us. To let us be counted right, justice had to be paid. The bomb had to go off. But instead of throwing it back and giving us what we deserve, He wrapped His arms around us and took the hit Himself.
"He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." -Isaiah 53:5
You see, the reason grace isn't popular or easy is because it's not cheap. To give grace costs us our right to be resentful. It robs us of our privilege to be bitter. It requires death. But friend, if Christ said to forgive the very men who drove nails through his wrists, and the same power that flung Him from the grave lives in us, then surely, surely He can give us the power to lose, so that our aggressors weapons are rendered useless. Rob your enemy of their ability to offend you, by gladly taking the full brunt of their attack. It is then, and only then, that hostility is defeated and love conquers death.
Remember who you are. Remember how you have been forgiven. You're only going to feel like you have the right to be bitter if you think you're better than them. "Oh no," we say, "I would never…" Never? Really? Remember what it cost Christ to redeem you, and may that knowledge drip down so deep in your heart that it becomes your joy to accept the cost of forgiving others.
Yeah I know it feels like losing, but it's what forgiven people do. As the old saying goes, "Hurt people, hurt people." Well, "Forgiven people, forgive people."
"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because Christ has forgiven the inexcusable in us." -C.S. Lewis
Hear 'Losing' at TheOverflow.com
Copyright 2007 Fellowship for the Performing Arts