The Most God-Like Thing We Can Do
Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:10
You need oil. Think through your day and notice all the different machines you use. If it has a motor, then it doesn't work if it runs out of oil.
In our Christian life, we can think of forgiveness like oil-if we don't have it then our lives simply don't work. Our lives go nowhere without forgiveness. And I don't just mean that Jesus has forgiven us, though that's where it starts. I mean us forgiving others.
Paul writes about forgiveness firsthand in Second Corinthians, as somewhere between First and Second Corinthians, someone attacked him from within that church. Everything about him-his delivery style, personality, message, ministry, and identity-all of it was being publicly discredited and attacked.
Paul was hurt, wounded, ashamed, and embarrassed. His credibility had been destroyed by this guy, so he sends his disciple Titus to handle the situation. Titus returned to Paul and reported that this attacker had repented, and now Paul writes and says to forgive him.
You can imagine yourself in that situation. An insecure coworker is pinning his bad work on you while taking credit for the good things you do, and your boss is buying it. Soon your reputation as a plague to the company spreads and you are alone in trying to clear your name. Or maybe the leader of the neighborhood gossip club plants seeds of doubt in your spouse's mind regarding your faithfulness.
Maybe these examples are more extreme than anything you've experienced, but the fact remains that life is messy and all of us both hurt others and get hurt by others. In that world of hurt, there is only one answer-forgiveness.
Paul forgave his attacker because he realized the weight of all he had been forgiven by God. Maybe what has happened to you goes far beyond what you feel you have done in your life, but the point here is that God has shown His nature as a forgiving God.
If we are going to say that we belong to God then we have no other choice. We have to forgive, and in forgiving, we'll find freedom from the hurt.
Prayer Lord Jesus,
I have been hurt really deeply, and I'm ready to be free of this pain. I choose to forgive those who have hurt me, and I release the justice to You. Please heal me and set me free!