Having a heart that forgives is not as easy as it seems. This is not a heart that holds offense, but one that readily releases someone for hurting you.
I thought of several people that I still hold grudges against for one reason or another. In my mind, the offense is worthy of a long drawn out grudge. I mean, shouldn’t they feel the pain of the hurt they caused me? These are not made up offenses. These are not offenses that could be blown off as “they didn’t know better”. No, these were intentional hurts. Some aimed their guns of pain at me and shot, hitting their target; my heart. These were not accidental, coincidental hurts. These were meant for me. Nor were these offenses of words alone. No, this would have been too good for the offender. They had to add actions to their offense to ensure that I knew exactly what they wanted me to feel. Bruises; physical, emotional, and mental still remained.
It seemed the healing process was non-existent, and whenever I would think of the offense, the pain would return like a person bumping a broken arm against a door. Excruciating pain surged to the surface of my heart, causing tears to well in my eyes, and sometimes taking my breath away.
However, according to the Bible, I am to simply forgive them. Isn’t that an oxy-moron? Simply and forgiveness can’t be meant to be put together, right? WRONG. When I claim that I want to be more and more like Christ, I am stating, in around about way, that I want to behave like he would behave (WWJD), and I want a heart like he has. Well, the heart of Jesus asked God to forgive the very people that were literally killing him!
Do I really want a heart like this? I mean, the people Jesus was asked to forgive plucked the hairs off his beard. These people beat him until he was almost too weak to walk, and then made him carry his own cross to its destination, Golgatha. These vagabonds pierced my Savior in his sides to add cruelty to their punishment. These heathens pushed a crown of thorns on his head to mock his deity. They were guilty of nailing his hands and feet to a cross in just the right way so he wouldn’t slip off. These sinners pierced him in his sides. And the fact is, Jesus had done no wrong! Yet, Jesus asked the Father to forgive them. These people didn’t even ask for forgiveness, but Jesus still asked God for their forgiveness. Do I want this type of heart where I “give up my rights to hold it against them with hatred in sight?”
My answer is yes. I will lift my hands in surrender to God and his plans for my life, and simply say, yes. I, now, realize that once I became an ambassador of the King, my personal rights were forfeited. I took on the duties, thoughts, ideas, words, and positions of the King and the King only. Therefore, since the King declares to forgive, I will forgive, realizing that the offense is not truly against me, but against He whom I serve. I say, yes.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. -Matthew 18:21-22 (New International Version)
Listen to A Heart That Forgives by Kevin LaVar