Why is it so hard to forgive?
I have been asking myself this question lately. Why is it so hard to forgive people whether it is big or small? If Jesus calls us to always forgive, why don’t we have the heart that makes it simple and easy? It comes down to a couple of different revelations that I have had over the last few days.
1) We are selfish people through and through. We live with a sinful heart that just can’t completely understand the magnitude of what forgiveness does. We forget that we want and need forgiveness on a daily basis, yet why should we extend that hand of grace to others? We feel entitled to get what we are owed. We should get an apology or what is due to us because we deserve it. There are so many times where I have been stubborn in my forgiveness because I felt that I was owed something all while forgetting what Christ did for me.
2) We feel that by forgiving someone by definition means we need to be friends or reconnect some sort of relationship with them. This is more understandable with the major hurts in our lives. Maybe you were abused at some point in your life, or an unspeakable thing has been done to you. Maybe your spouse or significant other cheated on you during your relationship. Whatever it may be it is extremely hard to forgive someone that has done some major damage to your heart and soul. The truth of the matter is though that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean reconciling with them. This is a long process that happens through time. We can forgive someone but still decide that a relationship with that person is not possible, or we can put boundaries up.
3) We forget the ultimate act of forgiveness that was given to us personally. In the back of my mind I know that Christ died for me and what a sacrifice that was, but when I am in the midst of being angry with someone I forget really what type of sacrifice it was. I truly believe that if we could humanly grasp the full concept of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, and we could keep that at the forefront of our mind, then we would be able to have a heart that forgives a little more easily.
4) We think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person we are forgiving. My very imperfect mind will always say at first, why should that person deserve my forgiveness when they can’t apologize? My big a-ha moment was when I realized that the act of me forgiving someone was not to give them a gift or to bless them, it is was an actual gift and blessing to myself. Caring around a torch of anger, frustration, or disappoint for someone lays a burden on your shoulders that takes a toll on you. God doesn’t want you to carry that burden. He wants you to be free from the shackles hate and rage. God always wants us to glorify Him by the act of forgiveness.
There are so many things that we do that need forgiveness. I couldn’t imagine having to try and forgive someone who abused me, or cheated on me. I know that there are so many of you out there that struggle with not understanding the pure evil that may have been done to you. You struggle with the anger and the questions of why me? And now you get angry with the very fact that God is calling you to forgive that person when we all know very well that they don’t deserve it. I can’t stand here and try and understand that level of forgiveness, but I do know that God is a loving God and He wants us to heal through living a life that remains in Him. Forgiving someone is not a gift that we are to give to that other person. It becomes a blessing from God to us when we give the anger and hurt to Him to carry leaving us to be able to live a life that is filled with His love and joy.
We here at Women180 are praying for you right now. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we are called to do, but nonetheless called to do by God. It is a continuous struggle that never gets easier. We pray that you lean on God for wisdom and guidance and for Him to show you the way.
Matthew 18:21-22 says Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.