Devotions from James Smith’s book, Embracing the Love of God.

Spurgeon said,” Let us go to Calvary to learn how we may be forgiven. And let us linger there to learn how to forgive.”
God invented forgiveness because he knew that we are capable of harming one another and that forgiveness is the only way to heal our broken hearts. We get hurt and the hurt is real. Sometimes it isn’t what someone does but what they don’t do that hurts us.  Forgiving is difficult though because it seems unjust.  We long for justice and fairness but forgiveness is not about that but about healing. It is the way to freedom. When we forgive those we need to forgive we will experience an inner peace that the world does not understand.

There are some misconceptions about forgiveness and we need to hang on to truth. 1. Forgiveness does not mean to condone the behavior.  What someone did may be absolutely unacceptable and we have to separate the offense from the offender. We forgive the person but not excuse their behavior. 2. We don’t forgive someone in order to change them.  The person may remain unrepentant but we forgive as a releasing act not a reforming act. 3.  Time does not heal wounds, only God.  If time healed wounds why do so many hurt from something done in the distant past.  4.Forgiveness does not mean we forget and pretend the offense never happened. If we try to bury the past, it can’t be dealt with.

We need to forgive always because failure to do so damages us. We may think we are holding the person accountable but what we are really doing is continuing to hold on to the pain.  If we don’t forgive we actually increase the pain of the past by letting it accumulate interest.  It saps our strength and prevents us from moving on.  More on this on Monday.