Last Tuesday I wrote about some truth from the pastor of the church I grew up in back in Virginia. This week, the pastor of the church Big Fisch and I attend now, Pastor Jason, made a statement that I wanted to share with you.
He said “Forgiveness always demands sacrifice.”
Essentially, when we decide to forgive someone for some wrong doing against us, we are giving up our “right” to hold a grudge and be angry or bitter. We are saying, I will sacrifice my true desire to feel this certain way towards my offender because I believe it’s worth it..or right… to put them before my emotions and pride.
Wow. When I think of forgiveness that way, I realize how difficult it is. Forgiving truly does demand a sacrifice because when we’ve been legitimately hurt or wronged , rarely do we feel like forgiving. We will always be able to think of 100 reasons why our offender doesn’t deserve (in our eyes) to be forgiven. That is why forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
When you choose to become a Christ-follower, God asks you to forgive others. Not because He wants us to live like doormats, allowing others to walk all over us, but because He first forgave us. When we were completely undeserving…completely in the wrong…He became a sacrifice for us. Giving up His life, so that we may live. Shedding His blood so that we may be forever forgiven. He set aside what would easily have been His “right” to hold our sins against us, and chose to forgive because He loves us.
Thinking of this true definition of forgiveness shows me that I so often do not choose to truly forgive. I choose to hold on to my irritations, my hurts, and my grudges because I feel I have the right. Especially when in my opinion, someone has really really offended me…and when that someone is close to home.
But Christ holds no measure of offense against me. And He asks me to do the same.
Lord, help me to forgive like you do. Help me to make the sacrifice, as You have made for me.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32