”If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” (1)
Does God expect me to forgive the person who plotted and killed my son and former husband? This crisis devastated me! Weren’t these crimes unforgivable, and beyond my human capability to forgive?
When my son was murdered, I questioned forgiveness. Was it possible? I wrestled with some myths about forgiveness and how they meshed into my personal belief. Was what I believed true, or based on faulty thinking? I was confused by what people were telling me. They told me I had a right not to forgive this person who killed my son. They said it was impossible to forgive a person who murders. Was this correct thinking or was it a misconception? These questions set me on a search for answers because I struggled with why I needed to forgive. How was I going to forgive this man who, by choice, did this evil act? It was unfair, cruel, and hurt me deeply. It created too much pain for me and my family for me to forgive. Mixed with all the confusion, I felt the offender did not deserve forgiveness.
God had a lot to teach me about forgiveness. I came to His throne daily asking and searching for answers so I could understand. I wanted to know what the Scriptures say about forgiveness. This was the SURE foundation I could stand on. The answers didn’t come quick, and they were not easy. In time they became clear.
Forgiveness is a resolution to release negative feelings towards a person who has hurt you, regardless if they deserve it or not, or if they accept it or not.
The Bible sets forth a mandate that if we forgive, we will be forgiven. “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, Your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (2) God does not require us to do anything without the power of His enabling Spirit to sustain us to do what He is calling us to do. He desires for us to have all the best of Him, whereby we can know His peace, healing and freedom. To embrace Him is to follow His command, knowing He is all wise and what He asks of us is for our good, well-being and overall best. Forgiveness at best is for our recovery. All accounts can be trusted to God, who is a fair judge. (3)
Even Christ forgave while He hung on the cross. He prayed, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (4) Jesus made a point to pray and forgive those who murdered Him. Jesus demonstrates to us exactly opposite of what the world views are of forgiveness. The world’s opinions foster faulty thinking which are contrary to the directives of God’s Word. We are given choices to forgive; either we embrace God’s instruction or we can adapt to the world’s philosophy. When we choose God’s way it opens doors to wholeness and mends our wounds so we can move on with life. Although it is difficult to forgive, as we cultivate a spirit to forgive we will reap the benefits to release, let go, and find liberty.
When I choose to forgive it brings closure to the messy part of my life. It is replaced with tranquility and peace. My desires are to find happiness and contentment in God’s design for my life. I want to serve His purposes for His eternal praise. What matters most to me, is to focus on the work God has given me to do. Then forgiveness becomes part of His plan for my life and I am set free.
Heavenly Father, My request I spread before Your throne. Lord, sustain me with a willing spirit to do Your will. Fill up in me what is lacking that my spirit will yield to Your command to forgive. My unanswered questions that no one can answer for me I leave with You, and choose to walk in Your enabling Spirit of grace. Amen.
1. Psalm 130:3, 4 nas
2. Matthew 6:14, 15 niv
3. Deuteronomy 32:4 nlt
4. Luke 23: 34 nas