If I believe God denies my sin, I won’t believe I need forgiveness.
If I believe the sin in my life is allowed to be shoved deep into a hidden drawer and forgotten, I will fail to learn the lessons of my humanity in relation to God’s perfection. I will deny God His heart’s desire to redeem the pain in those moments and offer incredible beauty from the ashes of my foolishness.
If I believe the work of reconciliation is less than a small-scale representation of God’s grace worked out in the details of our own lives, I will despise the work He does on a grander scale.
If I believe all these lies, eventually, I will conclude I don’t need to do anymore in my spiritual walk than to tell God I’m sorry, over and over, until the rote-ness of the words mean so little I don’t even bother to say them.
That’s why this is important.
Forgiveness is the roadmap to God. It is His hand, extended in love and reaching down to us in our failure and broken nature, which He offers to lift us up.
Our moment to touch the Divine is found in repentance, walking away from our rights to hold the filth of both owned and unacknowledged sin and selfishness. Like children crying out for Papa, all we need to do is reach UP to His waiting arms.
What we believe about forgiveness impacts our families, our friendships, even the way we speak to ourselves.
It’s easy to throw stones at people who don’t act in the way you believe carries meaning. Maybe you don’t like what they have to say.
“You don’t speak my love language” becomes a weapon thrown at each other to explain away the bitterness that fuels the feeling our needs aren’t being met. This bitterness largely comes from being held to a standard where humility is necessary. In those moments when it can become painfully obvious this does not come naturally to any of us we have the choice to listen or to harden our hearts.
If someone loves us enough to hold us accountable for our actions, the first reaction is to be uncomfortable. Accountability touches the places we hide our weaknesses and shortcomings behind a childish repetition of excuses and justifications.
We want something or someone else to blame for the words we speak, the accusations we make, the pain we cause. We even resort to hiding behind a pseudo-apology that, somehow, puts the blame on someone else for putting us in the place to behave badly. We desperately try to shift the weight to someone’s shoulders and that Someone is most definitely Not Me.
Walking according to a godly standard of behavior, and following the example of the Holy Spirit who works Perfectly in the area of redemption, I would urge you to use the following elements to your life and your relationships so you can find the Goodness of God in the middle of your painful circumstances.
- Assume you are capable of hurting others. Understand no one involved will ever be faultless in the situation bringing division between two formerly close friends.
- Examine yourself honestly and be specific about how you failed either in the events leading up to the nuclear bomb or in the events after the explosion.
- Quickly forgive those who hurt you, knowing full well how much God has forgiven you.
- Be willing to reconcile but don’t deny your counterpart their opportunity to repent
- Refuse to make excuses for your sin. Repentance, ownership, and humility are critical to bringing peace.
- Daily offer to your Heavenly Father the hurt and confusion, the hunger for vindication and justice, and the temptation to withdraw your forgiveness as the one who wronged you continues, unrepentant, to defend their behavior.
- Believe that lie that forgiveness means you accept or condone someone’s poor behavior or choices
- Accept that you are heartless or lack compassion because you have chosen to hold your attacker to a standard of Godliness and accountability
- Feed the lie that the only one responsible for the current situation is the one who has chosen to withdraw from the unrepentant party.
- Quit praying for the person who hurt you.
And above all, live as children of the light in every kind of goodness, rightness, and truth.