This blog post was originally posted on tumblr.
“There’s no sin so great that God did not forgive.”
Great. Awesome. Hallelujah. I celebrated this truth growing up because I was under the wings of a God whose love knows no bounds. Isn’t that beautiful? That my God is willing to forgive even the worst of sinners. I loved the fact that He forgave a Samaritan woman, a cheater. I loved the fact that He forgave Paul, a murderer. I loved the fact that He forgave David, a murderer and a cheater.
But I loved it because their sin had no effect on me. It’s so easy to advocate for forgiveness when you’re not on the other side of the offense. It wasn’t until recently when I experienced a hurt so deep that forgiving actually became difficult. I began to identify with the husbands of the Samaritan woman; a man who had feelings for someone, only to discover he was one of many. I began to identify with the family members who lost their loved one because of Paul; a mother grieving the death of her son because he chose to follow Jesus. I began to identify with Bathsheba; a woman mourning over the loss of her lover, a man of great integrity and honor. Did they know that the perpetrators of their pain would be admired and adored centuries later, while they were left to pick up the broken pieces of their hearts…simply because of someone else’s poor decisions?
In the process of learning to forgive, it’s been easy for me to think that God is more concerned about redeeming the offender than He is healing the one who hurts. A testimony of a murderer becoming a follower of Jesus seems more important (and glamourizing) than a testimony of broken trust being rebuild. It’s silly, but I’m being honest. Haha, that’s really how forgiving feels sometimes. Like, Hello God, Yoo-hoo… I’m still here.
But Jesus did not just come to forgive the sinner. I think He also came to heal the pain that comes from sin. The enemy tells me that the hurt I feel is ignored. But the nail pierced hands and the crown of thorns tells me pain was anything but ignored. On that day, Jesus made the decision to feel pain; and I don’t think it was just the physical pain of being hung on the cross, beaten and whipped. I’d imagine in that moment, Jesus also felt the emotional pain of death, broken hearts, shattered trust, betrayal, etc. And after feeling it all, He still chose to say, “Father, forgive them.”
One. I’m learning that the first step to overcoming offense and forgiving is to find justice at the altar. Anywhere else will lead to dangerous paths. Two. I’m also learning that pain will always come, but it’s temporary. When we surrender our pain at the foot of the cross, Jesus will always come, and He is forever.