Forgiveness is very Difficult
When we are young children, we are taught, even if grudgingly, to apologize for our transgressions. In my own family, I remember these ranged from stealing a piece of penny candy to punching a sibling in the face. My strongest memories of this lesson were for my oldest brother who would rather have taken a beating, and sometimes did, before white-faced and grim, he was forced to utter those three dreadful words—“I am sorry.” Frankly, I remember feeling superior when he had to say it to me. I knew how difficult it was for him, how miserable it made him. And, afterall, he had done something mean to me. Although I felt bad for him when he was spanked, I do not ever remember feeling or giving forgiveness.
Isn’t it strange that we do not teach our children to forgive? Shouldn’t we put as much emphasis on forgiveness as apologies?
Perhaps because as adults we find forgiveness more difficult than saying “I’m sorry.” Is forgiveness really all that important? Certainly we appreciate that God is a merciful God and forgives us.
In teaching the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus introduced the concept that we must forgive others before we can ask forgiveness.
God is an awesome God, and His potential for love and mercy is infinite compared to our own. Does He expect us to forgive every offense? Must we forgive wife beaters, thieves, and murderers? I am often amazed at the humble goodness of those who can find forgiveness for someone who has murdered a loved one. Most of us wonder if we could do this if we were in their shoes.
In His Holy Word, God does not differentiate between small sins and large sins. A small lie is just as bad as a large lie. (That’s right. There are no such things as “little white lies.”) A lie is just as bad as fornication, adultery, and murder. Therefore, it is an amazing truth that we can go to our Heavenly Father, confess our sins, and ask forgiveness for all our sins.
Christ tells us that God requires we forgive before we ask and receive forgiveness.
What if the offense is unforgivable?
What if children are involved? When the safety of our children is involved, we become raging tigers. Forgiveness is difficult when the least we would like to do is spit in their face. We cry vengeance for their sake. God, however, has clear instructions for us.
Innocent children who are physically and mentally abused, or molested often blame themselves. It is easier to convince themselves that something is wrong with them than admit a parent or other trusted family member might not love them. The abuse might last throughout their entire childhood. Even when discovered, rescuing the child might tear the entire family apart. None of this is the child’s fault. These traumatized children often commit suicide, grow up into adults that are never able to forgive themselves or, engaged in sinful or self-destructive behavior. Worse, they may become the same type of monster that hurt them. The most important think we can teach them is how to forgive their abuser, themselves, and sometimes, even God.
Unforgiveness is like poison you take hoping to destroy someone else.
Are you struggling to forgive? Have you been able to forgive a great wrong?
Unforgiveness is one of Satan’s greatest tools. It separates families, ends life-long friendships, and splits churches. It spreads like a cancer in our minds, turns our hearts hard and cold with bitterness, and stains our soul.
Perhaps these are good reasons why God requires us to forgive.
Kim Marie Johnson
Marie is an ordained minister. She is an author, artist, and designer. Marie enjoys teaching and speaking. Most important to her are her relationship with God, her three children and five grandchildren who inspire her every second of every day.