Friday, January 27, 2012

1/27/11 - Do I Really Have to Forgive?

I was having an email discussion recently and the question of forgiveness came up. One person in the discussion said that it's interesting that God asks us to forgive others unconditionally, yet he will only forgive us if we ask him. Then he said that in a way, God is asking us to do more than He is willing to do for us. This was my answer.

Happy Friday! I'm off to Northern Iowa for a weekend of ice fishing and snowmobiling!


I disagree with the premise that God is asking us to do something more difficult than He is willing to do for us.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ teaches that if we do not forgive others, the Father will not forgive our transgressions. He closes the sermon by saying that we are to put his teaching into practice. The man who hears and does builds his house upon rock. The man who hears and does not is the man who builds his house on sand.

That's enough for me to answer the question of whether it is necessary for us to forgive other men.

Forgiving someone is hard enough when they ask for forgiveness. The deeper the wound from the transgression, the harder it is to forgive. If the person doesn't ask for forgiveness, it gets far worse. We convince ourself that the person doesn't deserve our forgiveness, because they didn't seek it from us.

That is the voice of the Father of Lies. That's Pride. Satan's sin, the sin that caused the Fall, and the sin that tempts us to this day. The battle of "can I forgive" is ALWAYS rooted in our own personal pride.

Christ of course humbled himself fully, taking human form, and submitting to death, even death on a cross. He completely and totally won the battle against Pride. So ... it isn't true that God is asking us to do something that's more difficult than He's been willing to do for us.

The hard part comes in the doing. We may not be able to forgive on our own, but with Him, we absolutely can -- with God, all is possible. Our job is to recognize that weakness, and ask for God's grace to help us put it into practice.

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