Thursday, January 26, 2012

366 Days of Gratefulness ~ Day 25

I am terrible at forgiveness.  I like to try and convince myself I am quick to forgive but I'm not.  I hold grudges.  I like to make the point to the person who wronged me of just how much they betrayed me and hurt me.  I sometimes hide behind the excuse ... it's not that I am unwillingly to forgive, but I have to protect myself from being hurt again.

Yet, I expect others to quickly forgive me when I've wronged them.  I apologize.  I ask them to forgive me, and then I don't understand why they still hold it against me.  I like to shake my finger at them and remind them how Jesus commands us to forgive.

I am a hypocrite.

We were discussing part of a chapter in our bible study yesterday dealing with forgiveness.  The subject of severed relationships came up.  A friend brought up how instead of there being forgiveness, some relationships become severed.  She was explaining situations she had witnessed that if you didn't live up to the expectations of someone they cut you off ... the relationship is over.

These words were out of my mouth before I even realized what I was saying ...

I never live up to the expectations of God.  Never.  I constantly sin against Him.  I betray Him.  I don't keep His commandments.  I am an utter and complete failure.  However, He never severs our relationship.  He's longsuffering.  His love is steadfast.  He is quick to forgive.  He doesn't hide behind the excuse that He has to protect His heart from being hurt again.  Frankly, He knows I'll betray Him again.  He knows I'm not going to keep His commandments.  Yet, He is still quick to forgive, and He never holds it against me.

He forgives me, and I immediately start on a clean slate.

He is not a hypocrite.

This part of the chapter spoke loud and clear to my heart when I read it the first time, and when I re-read it yesterday it was as if God had it highlighted in pink.  So I picked up my pink highlighter and started swiping away.
"When God forgives, it doesn't mean he looks at our sin and says, "It doesn't matter.  It's no big deal."  When he said he would forgive our wickedness, he knew what it would cost.  He knew that the price for forgiveness would be paid through the death of the perfect sacrifice - his only Son.
... Not only does he forgive us, he offers us the complete freedom of knowing that he will never "remember [our] sin no more."  This doesn't mean that our all-knowing God actually forgets what we've done.  It means he no longer holds it against us.  He recalls what we've done, but he will never throw it back in our faces.  He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve.  He treats us as if we had never sinned against him.
This is something for us to remember when other people hurt us and we think to ourselves, Well, maybe I will be able to forgive them, but I can never forget!  We will probably always recall what they did or said that hurt us deeply.  But as we become more like Christ, he gives us the grace to do what he does; he gives us the inner strength to refuse to hold those hurts against the people who have hurt us.  We can actually treat them as though they'd never done it.  That's how he treats us!  This is the grace he provides to us so we can treat others the same way." hoping for something better by Nancy Guthrie
"He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve."

Thank you, Jesus!

"But as we become more like Christ, he gives us the grace to do what he does ..."

I am forever grateful my slate has been wiped clean.  I am grateful He is giving me the grace to be more like Him ... to forgive more easily.  I realize it's a process.  Being sanctified is not so easy, but oh so worth it. 

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