Forgiveness: A Divine Reality
“As holy people whom God has chosen and loved . . . forgive as the Lord forgave you. Above all, be loving” (Colossians 3:12-14).
Forgiveness is hard, isn’t it? I mean, really, if your brother hits you and your dad is standing there making him apologize, do you say in your calmest, most thoughtful voice, “Oh, my dear brother, I know you could not possibly have meant to punch me. I know you must feel horrible for your behavior. I want you to know that I forgive you and I love you”?
Be honest; right now you’re thinking that would be ridiculous. You want to hit back—and maybe hit him a second time—because you’re so mad. You know you’d really get into trouble, so instead you mumble, “I forgive you,” but you don’t really mean it.
We demand justice! If you hit me, I get to hit you. You should never get away with anything!
That’s not what God means when he says, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” God demands justice too, but he changed how it works. You “hit” God with your sin. Instead of getting back at you, he decided to punish Jesus. That way he could always be loving to you.
Because Jesus got punished instead of you, you get to hear God say, “I forgive you”—completely, absolutely, fully, and forever. With that peace inside of you, you get to forgive others the exact same way.