Or was it because the way they treated you was unfair? Did the unfairness, the knowing you didn’t deserve this, heighten the hurt and deepen the pain?
And how did you react? Were you angry? Did you lash out? Did you say things you regret? Did you live in a place of self-pity for a while?
Or did you respond in kindness? Did you choose to love them even when you’d been hurt? Did you choose to forgive them even though they didn’t deserve it?
It’s hard to do, isn’t it? To give love and forgiveness when everything inside you is broken, screaming you shouldn’t have to do this? It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem fair. Indeed, it is unfair.
On the other hand, have you ever wronged someone else? Have you ever done something to someone that they didn’t deserve? What did it feel like? Did it hurt you, too? What was it that made it hurt? Was it just the remorse you felt about the offense in and of itself?
Or was it because they forgave you that made it hard to deal with? Did the unfairness, the knowing you didn’t deserve this, heighten the remorse and deepen the regret?
And how did you react? Were you sad? Did you run away? Did you feel awkward and unworthy? Did you dwell in a place of shame for a while?
Or did you respond in thankfulness? Did you choose to accept their love even when you felt like a destroyer? Did you choose to accept their forgiveness even though you didn’t deserve it?
It’s hard to do, isn’t it? To accept love and forgiveness when everything inside you is broken, screaming you couldn’t possibly accept this? It doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem fair. Indeed, it is unfair.
Forgiveness is a funny thing. It’s hard to give and hard to accept. Why? Because a lot of the time, we give the love that is easy to give and accept the love we think we deserve. I mean, let’s be honest – How often do we love when we’re scared, weary, or have been hurt? And how often do we accept it when we’re scared, weary, or feel unworthy?
But the thing about forgiveness is, no matter whether we’re on the giving or receiving end of it, it is a choice. We have to CHOOSE to love recklessly and forgive without conditions. We have to CHOOSE to accept love fearlessly and accept forgiveness without protestations. Even though we know it’s unfair.
And WOW is that hard to do. Like, really hard.
But the good news is, we don’t have to do it by ourselves. We have the ultimate example of this in Christ: