Not only is that part wild, but the part that is really crazy for me is that the story is one that started thousands and thousands of years before you or I were even on the planet.
It all started with another group of ragamuffins starting with an old man named Abraham. We are part of THAT story. Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Noah and Moses and David and the rest of the bunch. We, you and me, we arrogant and over zealous bunch are part of a continuing line that started a long long time ago.
Ok, so that's wild to me. And the part that seems so odd in 2014 is that we believe that a sacrifice, a human sacrifice, over 2000 years ago is relevant for us today.
So, anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent when the point I want to make is this:
Something had to be forgiven. Sin, all mankind's sin had to be accounted for and charged to someone or something. That's where Jesus came in. There was nothing Abraham or any of us could do to make things right in our relationship with God. We would be forever tainted by the sinful state we are all born in.
You know the story form here. So God did what needed to be done to make things right. He made Jesus be sin for us so that we no longer have to sacrifice anything or anyone to make things right, to pay our debts.
Because of this great act our sins are forgiven. Not held against us, as far as the east is from the west God has removed them from ever getting in His way of seeing us pure and holy.
Ok, you know that part, right?.
What you might not know or have never thought of in the forgiveness realm is something that I didn't know either until God showed me, ever so gently, that forgiveness is a requirement now of us to others. Forgiving others is not something that is done when "I feel like it." Or when the person who has wronged us has really shown they're sorry. No, forgiveness is mandatory in spite of actions or feelings of any party.
But forgiving doesn't mean forgetting. Forgiving doesn't mean all is right between the two parties. Forgiving simply means that you have taken whoever has wronged you off your hook and placed them on God's hook to deal with as He sees fit. The feelings of the wrong may still hurt and trick you into thinking you haven't forgiven, but that doesn't mean you haven't forgiven. It only means your heart needs healing. And it may take awhile to heal. Deep physical wounds don't heal overnight, they take lots of time depending how deep and wide they are. The same with emotional wounds; just because the wound still hurts and needs tending to, does not mean forgiveness is lost. It just means you're still healing.
All that being said, now here is the kicker and I think this is the most important part of why we find it hard to forgive someone for a wrong done to us or, on the other side of the coin, feel like we can never be forgiven, by others and most certainly by God himself.
There are two people we never talk about forgiving.
Do you want to guess who they are?
One of them is ourselves.
The other is God.
First, forgiving yourself:
You gotta let yourself off the hook. If you've received God's forgiveness, if you've done what you can do to make things right with the person(s) you've wronged or who has wronged you, than you need to let it go. You need to forgive yourself as you would anyone else. It's very, very, VERY important that you start this today. (If not today, then when?)
Stop making yourself pay for something that it is over and done with and cannot be changed. STOP! NOW!
You are part of that little phrase in the LORD's prayer that says "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." You trespassed against yourself, now forgive yourself. If you want to live in the freedom of the forgiveness won for you than you need to forgive the person hardest to forgive. YOU.
The second "person" you need to forgive is God.
And this is the harder one, because God does not really need our forgiveness. No. He doesn't.
But you need to know you forgive Him.
Forgive Him for letting you fall. (You believed He was big enough to rescue you from the pit you were swimming in, but He didn't).
Forgive Him for letting you be hurt by others when you were vulnerable and unable to defend yourself. (He was not unaware of anything that happened to you no matter how distant he seemed, he was there).
Forgive Him for not fixing what you thought needed fixing in the way you thought it needed fixing.
He's God. You're not.
If I know anything about Him it is that absolutely nothing that we do - sin or good work - is kept hidden from His sight and wasted. God uses everything for His good purpose and His glory.
The crap, the sins, the wasted time, the heartaches. Everything.
He just doesn't use them or stop them or fix them the way we think He should and we need to forgive Him for that.
When we were raising our children it was very difficult at times for my husband and I to make them suffer the consequences of their bad behavior. Behavior they insisted on doing over and over and over even when they were told over and over and over again not to do it. I hated letting my children suffer the consequences of their actions. I hated it! But I had to let them suffer because suffering is sometime the best tool for learning.
I don't think God feels any less strongly when He has to let us suffer when He knows it's going to be used for some greater purpose. He knows suffering will bring learning.
You need to forgive Him.
It's part of the trust thing. When we forgive much we love much. When we forgive God for not doing things the way we would like it's an act of faith. Faith given by Him for us. We have to forgive Him so that we can trust Him with the rest. If you don't forgive Him, you'll keep spinning in circles wondering where in the world He is today, but refusing to trust Him with your life even when He makes Himself known to you.
He is by far the safest one to forgive.
When we forgive God then we can begin to see how the pain He let us suffer was part of a greater plan. When we forgive God we can begin to see how the pain was used to make me stronger or braver or more compassionate or more faith filled.
When we forgive ourselves a door opens that has been locked shut tight. Not just the little lock on the door handle but it's triple bolted and has a bar across it and nothing, nothing is going to get in.
But when we forgive ourselves and God, those bolts unlock, the bar is lifted, the door is flung open and the joys and the mercies and the peace that had been hidden come barging through like horses let out of their stalls.
You are the person who hurts when you don't forgive yourself and when you don't forgive God.
Those around you get burned and feel the flames of your unforgiving heart, but only you have the power to let go.
So.... Let go.
Let go of your past. You can't change one second of it. You don't have to be who you were. Now you can be who you were meant to be all along.
Matthew 6:12 1 Peter 1:3-9