Re-Gifting God’s forgiveness is a charge every one of us has been given. We all know God requires that we forgive others, just as He has forgiven us in Jesus.
So, why do we find it so difficult to re-gift His forgiveness?
Here are a few reasons:
No one deserves forgiveness.
We don’t owe our offenders forgiveness. We are not indebted to them; they are indebted to us. It’s counterintuitive to forgive because forgiveness is always unmerited, always presented as a free gift, always offered as an act of sheer grace.
Forgiveness costs us something.
Because an offense against us creates a debt, when we forgive the debt, we have to absorb the cost of that debt ourselves. Forgiveness is a free gift we offer to our offender, but that gift is not free to us. It costs us something.*
Forgiveness doesn’t taste good.
In a limited view, justice isn’t being served when we forgive a debt. So, the cup of forgiveness can have a bitter taste and can be hard to swallow. But drinking this cup brings health and healing to our souls. Withholding forgiveness, on the other hand, is a deadly poison that tastes delicious and goes down with a velvety smoothness.
Forgiveness is a supernatural act.
Forgiveness is not humanly possible. It’s an expression of the heart of God. When we agree to forgive, we enter into a divine act. We cooperate with God as He expresses His heart of mercy to our debtors. So, we must always depend on Him as we forgive.
I am not explaining forgiveness right now. I’m grappling with a mystery. When we step out to offer the gift of forgiveness, relying on the enabling power of His Spirit, we enter into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, and we experience the power of His resurrection.
As hard as re-gifting God’s forgiveness might seem to us, we don’t want to miss out on the extraordinary opportunity to get in on His gift giving. With that in mind, next time, I’ll talk about how we can avoid the enemy’s tricks that can keep us from offering our debtors the gift of our forgiveness.
*[I first thought of forgiveness as “costly suffering” after reading Tim Keller’s explanation in The Reason for God, pp.187-193]