The Fondness of a Forgiving God
“Until you see another human being forgive you, the forgiveness of God is never quite as real.”
Those are words spoken by We Are Messengers front man Darren Mulligan, who “fell in love with Christ” – when Heidi, his bride-to-be, forgave him after he admitted his repeated infidelity to her.
Forgiveness is probably one of the toughest things to do as a Christian.
No. Scratch that. As a human.
We are not wired to want to extend forgiveness when we are wronged because we are hurt and angry. We want justice delivered (and usually, we want to be the ones to deliver it). We want that righteous due process to dispense the same sort of emotional trauma the original crime burdened us with.
If you’ve ever been supernaturally delivered from bitterness by God, the Ultimate Enabler of virtuous absolution, then you can grasp at least a small nugget of understanding when it comes to the forgiveness He extended to you on that cross. The whole of the world’s sins, those committed already and those that are even now barely a rebellious ember burning in the back of your mind, were washed clean with the blood He shed that day.
He even audibly forgave the people who crucified Him as He hung there.
Framed that way, it should make the offenses others commit against us (that are petty when compared to the forgiveness He gave us) easy to release. They just are not, especially when you’re trying to find the ability to do it in your own flawed spirit, separate from the God who first initiated forgiveness.
Wouldn’t you say, though, that something in you changes a little bit when you are absolved by someone else for your wrongdoing, no matter how large or insignificant? Doesn’t it make you recalculate things the next time you want to carry the burden of a grudge farther than you need to?
It’s just like our amazing God to use someone else to model the mercy He so readily gives us every single day, no matter how badly we have messed up.
Darren said that forgiveness, particularly in dealing with people he considered enemies, helped him adhere to the notion of God’s love as a fondness:
“We can love our enemies by doing good deeds toward them, but always keeping them at arm’s length, because they’re our enemies. But fondness is a different thing. Fondness invites your enemies into your table, and that lines up with Scripture because fondness is kindness. And it is the kindness of God that draws men and women onto repentance.”
In everyday life, and under the weight of all that we suffer through on this spinning planet, it can be easy to miss the lessons God is trying to teach us when He inspires someone to model who He is and how He loves us. But when we miss the lesson, we can also easily miss the freedom and the blessing.
Psalm 130: 3-4 says, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (NKJV).
May we not miss our next chance to absorb a deeper knowledge of how our loving Father fondly sees us and, therefore, wear His rose-colored glasses when looking at others and ourselves.
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