Forgiveness Is so Unfair
Forgiveness isn’t fair. It doesn’t make sense. We crave justice and we equate forgiveness with letting people go scot-free. In fact, the command to forgive people is one of the hardest teachings of Christianity to embrace and live out. The apostles found it difficult too. So, one day Peter decided to ask the tough question:
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” - Matthew 18:21-22 (NLT)
Peter assumes that there is a limit to forgiveness. He’s so convinced, in fact, that he suggests a possible answer to Jesus that probably seemed extreme to Peter, who was probably thinking something more like “three strikes and you’re out!” Jesus’ response wasn’t intended to be calculated (the answer to 70 times 7 is 490 by the way). His point was that we need to forgive repeatedly.
This doesn’t make sense. It’s unfair. It’s unjust. I want payback!
If you’re going to understand this, there are some principles you must nail down.
- Forgiveness isn’t free. It was purchased by Jesus’ death on the cross.
- Forgiveness isn’t just for the benefit of the one forgiven, but for the forgiver as well.
- Holding someone in unforgiveness holds YOU hostage even more than them.
- Forgiving them does not mean trusting them again. That’s a different issue.
- God IS just. He just takes His time in handing out justice. Everything is equitable from eternity’s perspective.
- Grace is a better way.
- If you’re a believer, you’ve been forgiven SO much! TOO much, in fact, to refuse grace to others.
- You may not be able to forgive, on your own, but God’s Spirit will help you.
Forgiving the same person for the same junk repeatedly may not seem fair to you, but it’s ultimately for your peace and your joy. It’s in your best interest to follow this extremely difficult teaching of Jesus. Forgive. Again. And again.