Why is Forgiveness so Hard?

by mjongsma on February 1, 2013

Reading the parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matthew 18 reminds me of the discussion we had in our community group this week. The question was asked, “Why is it so hard to forgive someone who has wronged you?”

I think what makes it so hard is that we have a built-in sense of justice. This is why little children are so quick to protest, “That’s not fair!” There is something in us that wants to make sure that everybody gets their fair share, that everybody get’s what’s coming to them. We want to believe that if we do what’s right, right will be done to us, that what goes around, comes around. When that sense of justice is violated, not only do we want the offenders to be punished for their misdeed, we want to know about it!

That’s what makes forgiveness so hard. When we “release another from the debt they owe” (the definition of forgiveness), there is this sick little feeling in us that justice is not being done. We feel like we are letting someone off the hook.

In order to experience the peace that accompanies forgiveness we have to know that it is not letting the offender off the hook, it’s letting yourself off the hook. Forgiveness is choosing to not be saddled with carrying the burden of all the hard feelings that can come when someone has “done you wrong.”

Extending forgiveness requires that we extend to others the same grace that God has  extended to us when He released us from a debt that was impossible for us to pay.

Extending forgiveness does not require that you ignore your sense of justice, but that you trust in God’s promise of justice – even when it does not come on our timetable or in our vision.

Forgiveness is a gift of healing, peace and freedom to yourself.

What do you think?

Pastor Jason

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