By Marcus Blair, pastor, Grandview Baptist Church
Why do we not forgive? Why do we hold grudges and bring ourselves unneeded pain? Everyone believes we should forgive. We believe it, but don’t do it.
The number one reason people don’t forgive: we don’t know how. And we have some false notions about what forgiveness is and how it works.
Let me show you four things forgiveness is NOT:
The compromise of morals – “If I forgive them, they’ll think what they did was ok!” When God forgave me, he didn’t compromise his righteousness. God didn’t relax his standards or water down his expectations. He came to me and forgave me, but then helped me see how much I was hurting other people. Forgiveness is the MERCY of God. He pardoned me because I was guilty. You never look more like God than when you are forgiving someone.
Violation of justice – “If I forgive them, they are getting away with it!” It’s a healthy notion and a godly thing to want things to be right, to want to see evil punished. But I assure you: Nobody is getting away with ANYTHING. God is the one who will punish and deal out justice. You are not the one who has to hold someone to the fire for their injustice. If they don’t repent and receive God’s mercy, they will burn forever in hell. Your unforgiveness won’t bring the punishment you want them to have.
It’s not trust – you can forgive someone, and not trust them anymore. If someone steals money from you, forgive, but you won’t trust them with your bank account anymore.
For the complete column, please see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard