Of course some things are easier to forgive than others. If someone gets angry and says something mean it can hurt. But, later they come back and say, I’m really sorry, I was just in a bad place at the time and I really didn’t mean to take it out on you. Pretty easy to forgive I’d say.
What if someone lies to you? Depending on whom, what, and why you may have varying difficulties in the forgiveness process. Of course, you can and should forgive them, but a trust is broken. Once a trust is broken, even though you forgive them, you may always have a bit of skepticism over what they tell you in the future.
The forgiving of others has a lot of nuance to it as well. If someone you don’t know all that well, or someone you’re not very close to offends you, it can be much easier to forgive than when someone very close to you hurts you. When someone you love deeply hurts you, the hurt is so much more intense, and can affect you on such a deeper level. I think that is probably one of the biggest reasons so many relationships don’t endure over the long haul.
When someone you care deeply for betrays your trust, or if they treat you in a way that cuts you deeply; it shakes your trust in that relationship.
Sometimes forgiving someone can be the hardest thing you every have to do. Unfortunately for some people it’s easier to become resentful and bitter than to swallow their pride and forgive the one who hurt them. Our human nature wants to punish those who hurt us, and we feel justified in it.
That is why letting human nature rule us is the worst thing we can do. Without a foundation in Christ, and a commitment to live for Him, having long term relationships with others would be just about impossible.
As deeply as any of us has been hurt, I doubt there is anyone who reads this that can say their hurt can be compared to what Jesus went through.
Matthew 26:65-68 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66 What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” 67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
Who of us has come to a group of people filled with love and desiring nothing but their good and have them turn around and spit in our face, beat us, and call for our death?
Matthew 27:26-31 26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
Can you imagine how much that hurt? I’m not just talking about the physical pain, but the emotional pain. Do any of us believe the Christ’s heart was not broken; we are part of His creation. It would be like having our own children who we love unconditionally do those things to us.
Now, with the scriptures that you just wrote, I want you to get your mind around this next scripture.
Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
What an amazing example He gave us. Can you imagine everything they did to Him, yet He forgave them, just as He forgives us over and over again.
Also, you’ll notice, that He didn’t say forgive them for their terrible deeds, or the horrible way they’ve treated Me. He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”.
So, what did Christ show us by this?
I will share that with you in part 2 of this article.