“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”
— 1 John 3:11 (NLT)
Let’s consider that the aforementioned verse is primary to life here as we take and receive of it.
Forgiveness is essentially about love. It is not so much about forgiving the person or people who hurt us as such, as it is forgiving the human nature and understanding both the circumstances and consequences of the Fall—a constraint to which we’re all bound.
This standpoint accepts that intrusion upon human hearts is common to humankind. It takes God at his Word. We’re spiritually forlorn without the Lord.
Offense is Nullified By the Facts
Given that there’s agreement that the Fall has castigated us to the realms of both hurting and being hurt, being as it is that it will occur, we’re warned, therefore, to anticipate it.
We’re warned that forgiveness is necessary if we’re to obey God’s command to love.
Expectations are that the people we trust will betray us, for we cannot live and not love, and therefore we will be hurt.
But the offenses sent our way are nullified in truth by the fact: people hurt. It’s shouldn’t be any surprise when it occurs, but, of course, we are surprised, because we’re so prone to being hurt.
It’s a vicious cycle unless we come back to the fact—we can predict the hurt and cater for it beforehand. That is, to commit now to the treaty of forgiveness.
The ‘Why’ of Forgiveness is Simple
If we approach this perspective with agreement, like cause to effect, we can understand why it’s important to forgive. To do so is both dealing with the past and awarding to the future, hope.
Relationships thrive in the seedbed of forgiveness; it’s the language of love.
It’s the only chance we have of reconciling moments and relationships for God’s purposes. When we understand, per 1 John 3:11-24, that Christ was the example of how we’re to live—giving up claim to ourselves (verse 16)—we finally understand that our hurt is not really the point.
Offense is not the point.
To know the love in forgiveness—and to exact the same result by our dealings with others—is to know the Presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit (verse 24).
Finally, of course, we come down to the ultimate fact. The Lord Jesus Christ gave himself over to be crucified so we could be forgiven—and so that we, by his example, might extend that same forgiveness to others who ‘crucify’ us.
Love is central to all our lives. When we’re hurt, we struggle to forgive and, therefore, cannot love. This hurts us more than the person we don’t forgive. When we understand that being hurt isn’t the point, but love is, we can forgive.
The ‘why’ of forgiveness is we need to love beyond our hurts so we can enjoy a spiritually-sane life.
The test of faith is to keep loving in God’s strength, not our own.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.