Words of Grace
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” C. S. Lewis
Forgiveness is hard. Oh, sure, there are times when we can forgive quickly and easily; but there are other times when someone has done something that is very hard to forgive.
We make lots of mistakes when it comes to forgiveness. We think we have to forget, but that isn’t true. We think we have to welcome the person back into relationship, but that isn’t true either. We think forgiveness is for the benefit of the other person, and that certainly isn’t true.
The truth is that forgiveness is for us. Not being able to forgive binds us both to the event and to the person who hurt us. Forgiveness is letting go and moving on. Forgiving frees us from reliving the event. So, there is good reason to forgive.
I think of forgiveness as a door to an unknown room. That room holds many fears. What would it be like to go through that door? Would I have to change somehow? Would I find that person on the other side? Maybe it would be better not to try.
Yet, Jesus calls us to forgive—for our good. He wants us to be free.
And here’s my suggestion. Don’t be the first one through the door. Let Jesus go first. Forgiveness is His work, let Him do it. Then all you have to do is accept what He has done.
It has always struck me that my forgiveness means very little in the life of another person. The person who hurt me doesn’t need my forgiveness. He or she needs the forgiveness of the Lord. All sin is against the Lord. So the only real part for me is to yield to Jesus.
Instead of looking at that door with fear and wanting to run away from it, let Jesus open it. You have no responsibility to open that door. He will open it at the time and in the way He wants. Then, He will walk through it with you. All you have to do is walk with Him—and you are already doing that.
You see, forgiveness is His business. All sin is against Him. We get caught in the crossfire sometimes, but those who hurt us are really sinning against Him. I suspect that’s why we find it so hard to forgive sometimes. We think we are somehow letting the person escape the judgment he or she deserves. But we are not the Judge. Forgiveness belongs to Jesus.