Anger sometimes comes from unforgiveness. You may justify that unforgiveness by some deep hurt thats been committed against you. You may say “What they’ve done is unforgivable”. I have heard many people say versions of that comment. For example, think about this – how can a young person forgive a father who abused them as a child? Do any of us have the human capacity to forgive in such deep hurts and pain? I don’t think so.
But we don’t forgive others based on our strength, capacities or even our abilities. We forgive by the power of Almighty God in and through us. We forgive because God commands us to forgive: Ephesians 4:32 – “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. See the appeal for forgiveness there? Forgive as God forgave you – (I wrote about that in my last blog). That’s the appeal – we forgive as we have been forgiven. We don’t wait for them to ask for forgiveness – we extend it to them. But think about this – We don’t have to post that decision to forgive on Facebook or tell anyone for that matter. But we need to pray that God moves our hearts to be forgiving to others.
I guess many of us can grasp that concept but their lurks a specific deep fear in extending forgiveness to someone. This fear is one I can relate to at the moment. Here it is – ‘If I forgive them they will get away with it’. Let me explain: lets’s someone spreads a rumor about you and you find out who started that rumor and what they said. Their gossip cuts deep into your soul. Now you read this blog and think ‘I don’t want to forgive them, cause if I do they will get away with what they’ve done”. So the reality is if you forgive them they will get away with it. They’ve hurt you and now you have every right to hold onto to that hurt and stay clear of them.
But wait – here comes the kicker – by thinking, even for a moment, that they will get away with it – that’s trusting in you for justice and not you trusting in God. That’s you hoping that one day your hurt will hurt them. That’s you hoping they will come and ask for forgiveness and you will have a chance to explain your hurt to them.
Rom 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Here’s what I’ve learned lately that really convicts me – by fearing they are getting away with their sin I am trusting in myself for justice and not trusting that God is able to sort things far more than I ever am. This is a faith decision – trust your hurt to God and pray that He moves you from hurt to seeking, actively, to extend forgiveness.