Thursday, November 20, 2008
I read something in Oswald this morning that sort of stuck with me. He was talking about how if we think God forgives us because He's just so good hearted and kind then we've sort of got it all wrong. The Bible doesn't support that idea, Oswald says. He says that the thing to keep in mind about forgiveness is that Christ sacrificed His life and God forgives us based on that alone...not because He's a cosmic "nice-guy". I don't deserve God's forgiveness, but if he doesn't offer it to me now, after all that was spent, it's His own Son's precious sacrifice that He's devaluing more so than even His "kind" Heavenly Father character. He will not devalue His Son's sacrifice, and so He forgives me over and over and over. Always will. Because Jesus paid. I think that's a really beautiful idea and I was glad to ponder it this morning.
And as usually happens when God's thoughts find my heart in the morning, I needed this idea by the end of the day. I have to forgive the ones who hurt me over and over and over again, daily in fact. And quite frankly, I'm sick of it. I'm sick of them. I'm sick of the pain. It's really hard to forgive someone who isn't sorry, who thinks they did nothing wrong and to keep forgiving over and over. It seems like I should be able to at least wait to do all this darn forgiveness work until they say they're sorry or at least until they stop hurting me. "But He demonstrated His own love for us in this...that while we were YET sinners, Christ died for us." Leave it to Jesus to set the bar high (grin). He paid the forgiveness bill before I was ever sorry for what I'd done. And I'm expected to at least try to be like Him, at least to try.
So there it is. I am called upon to forgive again. Somedays I'm all noble and lovely and I can say that I truly want to forgive them simply because that's the person I want to be and Christ will give me the strength. Today I can't say that. I don't want to forgive. I don't. I'm weary and I want my sorrows to vanish as if they never were at all. I feel like hating, or at least rolling my eyes in disdain. So I sit thinking I might do that for a little while (as if I'm contemplating indulging in just one more brownie) and then I remember about Oswald and how God quickened those ideas to my heart this morning. And I realize that if I decide not to forgive now, I'm not devaluing my own character or niceness as much as I'm devaluing the sacrifice of my dear Jesus. And gosh, I can't bring myself to do that, at least not on purpose. He paid so, so much to buy forgiveness, so that His Father could give it freely, so that He could give it freely, so that I could give it freely.
My Jesus, I forgive today because you do. And I'm grateful that you didn't consider it too much to pay even though I wasn't even sorry yet. I'll put your purchase to the best use I can. Today I'll forgive them because of who You are.