Forgiveness is really, really hard. I’m certain you can relate.
We live in an oh-so broken world. We sin against others and others sin against us - both leaving a trail of destruction and collateral damage. The truth is, sin costs us much. And the sins of others are no different. But even when you suffer innocently, you are still called to forgive completely.
Perhaps you relate best to Jospeh and his story in Genesis 37 - stuck in a hole you didn’t dig. Or maybe as Psalm 69:4 says, “forced to restore what you did not steal.” Regardless, living in the fallout of someone else’s sin hurts, especially when it means you now have to walk an unthinkably difficult road littered with roadblocks and agony.
Here’s what you must know though: Forgiveness is how we put to death sin ever growing into something more, whether that’s bitterness in our own hearts or shame in the offender’s heart.
Forgiveness is powerful. It’s a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of weapon. It’s both healing and liberating. When we forgive, two things happen: 1. we put a halt to bitterness taking root in our hearts. We give sin no opportunity to grow into resentment. 2. we free the offender from living in shame. The enemy would love nothing more than to remind them of their sin, but forgiveness frees them from walking in such shame.
In one of his messages, Louie Giglio shared a story about a man who killed a rattlesnake only to get bit by it after the head was severed. His point was simple: the snake was dead, but it was still deadly. This couldn’t be more true of sin. Jesus has already paid the price of all our sins on the cross (including the sins of others against you), but if we don’t stop those offenses from growing into bitterness and shame, they remain incredibly deadly.
The point? You get to play a role in burying the head of sin. And that means offering the same forgiveness that you were so graciously offered by Jesus.
Remember Jospeh back in Genesis? His story ends with a profound truth, a truth he spoke to the very brothers that threw him in that hole: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” [Genesis 50:20] Do you see it? God brings good out of evil.
In view of that, I’m not asking you to be okay with the sin that was committed against you, but I am asking you to forgive the offender and trust God to bring good out of that sin - and that all begins and ends with forgiveness.
One last thing - you may never get an apology, a sense of remorse, or a “I sinned against you, will you forgive me?” And that’s okay. Don’t let the enemy convince you that your forgiveness was done in vain. When done in Jesus’ name, love and grace are never wasted.
Jared Iler // Creative Director at Humbled Daily