The Freedom of Forgiveness

God’s grace and forgiveness, while free to the recipient, are always costly for the giver…. From the earliest parts of the Bible, it was understood that God could not forgive without sacrifice. No one who is seriously wronged can “just forgive” the perpetrator…. But when you forgive, that means you absorb the loss and the debt. You bear it yourself. All forgiveness, then, is costly.”  ~ Timothy Keller

That’s the thing isn’t it? There’s always a price. The fact that forgiveness is so costly may be why we’re so stingy with it. We cling to our right to not forgive. Forgiving requires conceding the right to revenge or anger; the right to hatred or hurt or self-pity. That’s a lot to give up.

Unforgiveness isn’t free either. Unforgiveness is so tangible you can watch it re-write a person from the inside out. Can we choose not to forgive? Sure. But like a moth clinging to the cloth, in time a tiny hole will appear as the slow process of fraying weakens the very core of the fabric, until only a remnant of what was intended remains.

If God, in His grace, hadn’t extended the extraordinary mercy of forgiveness first, if He didn’t continue to do it daily, it would be too much to ask. But He did and it isn’t.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

6 thoughts on “The Freedom of Forgiveness”

  1. Debby – we are indeed! I think forgiveness comes hard (forgiving ourselves and forgiving others) anytime we develop a hierarchy of sin, There is certainly a difference in consequences, but it only takes one sin, any sin, to separate us from God. The high consequences don’t equate to a greater sin factor. Jesus would have died if there’d only been one moment of pride or envy or vanity or slander.
    I agree, I think we do need to forgive ourselves to move on. In order to do that, I first have to see my sin as just as costly as any other.

  2. It would seem our blogs are on the same path again. Be able to forgive themselves is a huge challenge for the men we work with. Of course, it can be a challenge for anyone. I read recently, we don’t forgive for other people. We forgive for ourselves to heal and move on.

  3. I remember, Debbie, when I was on the way to a hospital to see Galen after an extreme injury you suggested that we pray together to forgive all the circumstances and the person who was with him when it happened. It was the hardest prayer I’ve ever prayed. I was already working up a justification for resentment that was going quickly toward hatred. Later, I was so grateful that you stopped me. I’m also grateful that God took my tide of anger and staunched it. The irony in that incident is that it was Easter Sunday.

    1. Heidi – I’ll never forget that Easter Sunday, right on the heels of celebrating God’s mercy in setting us free, we were both tempted to enter the voluntary bondage of unforgiveness. I’m so thankful for the many times you’ve seen the seed in me and refused to let me cultivate it!

    1. Jill, there was a quote from Buddy Hackett that we used to use in our seminars: ““I’ve had a few arguments with people, but I never carry a grudge. You know why? While you’re carrying a grudge, they’re out dancing.” So true. Unforgiveness is a powerful tool for self-destruction.

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