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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Forgive: because He is just

I have always struggled with forgiving. It has been an ongoing project of mine for the last ten years. When I met Jesus as my personal lord and savior ten years ago, I knew I must forgive everyone who had ever done anything to me. It seemed like a tall order.

Over the years, I have sought to untangle the mess of what forgiveness looks like in my life. Can I forgive before the pain goes away? Will the pain ever really go away? Does time heal all wounds? Does time heal any wounds? Do we still have to be friends? Should I just grow a thicker skin? But doesn’t a thicker skin mean a harder heart? Shouldn’t pain hurt me?

At various times I think I have forgiven. Then up pops the person in question and pain stabs my heart or fear fills my soul. Interacting with them as though they had never sinned against me becomes impossible. After all, isn’t that the goal? Forgive as God forgives. God forgives so completely He claims to have forgotten, and we all know He knows everything. So why when we “forget” the pain do psychologists call it repression and the pain comes spilling out in all other areas of our life?

I thought I had done a pretty good job of forgiving until two and a half years ago when I restarted my journey of healing. I discovered I still had a lot of pain trapped inside. Yeah, I was communicating with people, laughing and smiling and “forgiving”. I was also drinking myself to sleep and living in sexual addiction. My life virtually oozed with proof of my forgiveness.

As I began to form healthy relationships and become an active part in the lives of healthy families and care for healthy children, I came face to face with what I had not known I did not have. I was like a person who was born blind thinking they knew what it was to not have sight when indeed since they knew not what sight was they could only know what it was to be blind. I was blind to what could be.

This week I have learned I was looking for answers in all the wrong places. I could not figure out the solution to my forgiveness problem because I was not asking the right question. The question is not whether those who hurt me deserve my forgiveness. The reason to forgive is not found in the old standby “Bitterness and anger are like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” The solution to my forgiveness problem will never be cured with time or with apathy to my pain.

Those are all great surface questions that do not strike at the heart of the matter. The real question is: Do I believe God is just? It is no more complicated than this simple question. If I do not believe God is just, I will continue to strive to work out justice on my own. Bitterness and anger will circle in my heart and mind as I attempt to seek my own revenge. If I believe God is just, I can relax, trust Him and enjoy my life.

My forgiveness will never be found in my own forgiving, loving heart. My heart is not that loving or forgiving. I will only be able to forgive when my very fallible, self-centered heart trusts that God indeed is just. When I believe God is just, it will be very easy to let go of revenge and let God be my avenger.

I am ready to start enjoying my life, are you?

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