My whole life, I have struggled with the concept of forgiveness.
Despite growing up in church, and hearing the concept of forgiveness my entire life, I still tend to struggle to accept that it isn’t a feeling.
And since being married for the past two years, this struggle of mine has become more evident. Because as soon as my husband says or does something that hurts my feelings, I get defensive. And then, I make him pay the price. I rub those mistakes in his face, I remind him of them daily, and I send him to the doghouse until my feelings are repaired and I feel his pleading and apologizing are worthy of my forgiveness.
But you see, the problem is, I tend to make a lot of mistakes myself. Probably way more than my husband does.
And in the past couple of years being married to him, he has taught me a great deal. Unlike me, my sweet husband is quick to forgive, no matter how many times I mess up. He understands so easily this one thing that I struggle with.
He understands that forgiveness isn’t a feeling. It is a choice.
He understands that to forgive is to choose to let it go. It doesn’t mean that you are condoning the wrong behavior or the actions that hurt you. It’s not saying “I think that behavior is ok, so go ahead and do it again.” Instead, it is choosing to let go of the anger, the resentment, and the hurt, and then following through with that decision with your actions and words. It is the decision that you are not going to hold onto it any longer, or allow yourself to continue making judgements based on that behavior. It is choosing to move on, even if the person doesn’t deserve it.
And you know what else? It is even choosing to do those things for those who aren’t even asking for your forgiveness or who don’t even think they did anything worthy of needing forgiveness in the first place.
Yes, even then.
Now I know that many of you already know this. But some of you, are like me. You are waiting to feel forgiveness in your heart.
But let me tell you, that day may never come.
Do you know what day will come? The day when you find yourself kneeling before the throne of God. And when he looks you in the eye and asks why you couldn’t forgive, despite all he has forgiven you for, what will you say? That you couldn’t get over the hurt you felt? That you just weren’t ready?
And in that moment, won’t you be more glad than ever that he didn’t wait to forgive you? You see, it’s easy to forget that the only way we are even worthy of spending eternity with him, is by accepting his gift of salvation. The gift of his son, who he sent to die and bear the weight of all our sin, even when we didn’t deserve it.
To forgive is to wipe the slate clean. It is doing for others what Jesus did for you.
And when you choose to forgive, only then will your heart begin to feel it too.
So, today, I am remembering that my forgiveness was bought for a price. And to not forgive, is to reject the price that Christ paid for me.