By Not Known
In his article “Real Danger of Unforgiveness”, Todd Morrison, a Christian writer and speaker wrote – “A life spent practicing unforgiveness toward those who have wounded us feeds that malignant growth in our soul, hinders our capacity for healthy relationships and binds us in the oppressive chains of anger, suspicion, resentment and fear.” These words resonate with many of us simply because 3 in 5 people (i.e. 60%) by popular poll will not forgive without hearing a “sorry” from their offenders.
The Bible teaches that unforgiveness is a SIN capable of inflicting psychological and physical damage. Unless we recognise this sin as God himself calls it, the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ will remain a sentimental love story of Christmas and Easter with no real day-to-day relevance. Every mortal needs God’s forgiveness.
King David had a lot to tell about (un-)forgiveness. He was himself a rapist and a murderer (2 Sam 11) who wrecked the marriage of a couple, Bathsheba (raped) and Uriah (dead). Eventually, David was brought to face his grave sin (2 Sam 12); a realisation that inspired those very heart-rending prayers to God in Psalm 51:11-12 “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” He needed God’s forgiveness.
God pronounced two punishments on David (2 Sa 12:9b-12): (1) A sword within his house as a sign of treason and division. (2) The public defilement of his wives. Sin and shame are twin-brothers. “When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonour comes disgrace”. (Pro 18:3) God’s punishment often magnifies the foolishness of a sin so that we will think twice about sinning again.
David confessed his sin and God immediately forgave him (2 Sam 12:13a). God is ever-willing and ready to forgive, but not lightly and blindly! Why? Because God forgives justly; justice demands confession and repentance; restitution and punishment.
We all love a just God when we are in the right, but we squirm if we have done wrong. Our natural tendency is to hide or distort the truth. Justice is necessary in forgiveness because right and wrong must be governed by God’s rule of faith and conduct, not human opinions. Without Biblical justice, it is easy to fall into partiality and misjudgement. What must we do?
When you are offended by someone… (1) What was offensive? (2) How and why was it offensive? (3) Was it a violation of personal sensitivity that calls for self-denial, or was it truly a Biblical offence against God that demands sincere apology and further redress in forgiveness?
When you have offended someone… (1) An explanation is not a justification; i.e. explaining an offence only gives clarity to the wrong done, but does not make it any more right to have done it. (2) A Biblical offence is foremost against God; we must come clean with God and then with the offended party. (3) Accept responsibility for any reasonable redress as from God.