Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us

By Grantley Morris

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Maybe the person who sinned against you murdered your child, sentencing you to a lifetime of heartache. Maybe he stole your wife, plunging you into a icy loneliness. Maybe you were cheated of your lifeís savings, or you were scandalized, your reputation shattered by malicious lies. I obviously cannot focus on each of the endless possibilities, but regardless of the offense the principles remain the same. For simplicityís sake I write the following as if a man had sexually violated you in an horrific manner. You should have no difficulty in applying this to your specific situation.

Should you forgive your abuser?

Some dear people try to forgive their abuser by convincing themselves it was all their fault, not their abuserís. They try to forgive by taking upon themselves blame that rightfully belongs to their abuser. Donít do that! Youíre not Christ! Only he can fully bear the sins of another. Your attempt will help neither you, nor your abuser.

Others try to ease their tortured conscience by putting all their guilt upon their abuser. Itís quite possible that all blame for your abuse belongs with your abuser. Like all of us, however, you have other sins for which there is no one but yourself to blame. Trying to put all the blame for our sin upon anyone other than Jesus is ineffective because only Christ, who alone is without sin, can bear our guilt, absorbing every stain until not a trace remains. Perfect justice means I couldnít suffer punishment for someone elseís sins because anything I suffered would be what I deserve for my own sin.

So put all guilt upon the spotless Son of God. Then you will be clean, not only in your own eyes, but in the holy eyes of Almighty God.

Your abuser doesnít deserve to be forgiven

Neither do I. Neither does anyone. It is hypocritical to want Godís forgiveness for oneself, and to want the sins of someone else to remain unforgiven.

ĎWhy should I forgive them!?í thundered her e-mail

As a child her uncle had molested her and her parents abandoned her. In middle age she had been stalked, tied up and raped. Some of the several attempts to murder had her sent her to hospital. So great was her torment that several times she had tried suicide, even using a gun, but to her disgust she was still alive. Why indeed should she forgive?

There is much I might have said, but what flashed into my mind was the highest reason of all: Because itís Godlike.

God forgives those who have no right to be forgiven. He forgives his haters. Christ was abandoned. The Innocent, was accused, condemned, and made to feel like low life. His holy body was violated by whips, nails, spear. He was mocked, maligned, tortured. And he forgave. Heís God. And he has the power to make you like God.

The Lord of all wants to make you royalty Ė a child of the King of kings. Not an adopted child, but born into his family, bearing his nature Ė his genes as it were. And part of the beautiful, divine nature God wants released into your life is an attitude of forgiveness.

ĎGodís not fair!í

ĎItís not fair that God should ask me to forgive such horrible acts!í she complained.

See the Son of God betrayed, abandoned, slandered, sadistically subjected to a perversion of justice. See his flesh shredded by instruments of torture; the King of glory savaged, defiled, reduced to an object of shame; stripped naked, publicly humiliated, robbed of every speck of decency. Our sin did that. Thatís what it cost the Holy One to forgive our sin. For God to do that for us sinners isnít Ďfairí but he still did it.

But my tormentorís sin is so much worse than any normal personís sin.

Suppose heís violated ten people. Does that make him more worthy of forgiveness than someone who has violated a thousand people? Itís so hard for us to grasp that none of us are worthy of forgiveness. Part of the problem is that most of us spend our lives trying to squirm out of our personal guilt by taking secret delight in the sins of others. But thereís only one way to eternally deal with guilt and thatís to let Jesus deal with it.

Iím about to describe a spiritual reality that is beyond our intellectual powers to grasp. Despite our inability to even imagine it, the fact is that as immense as his sin against you is, what he has done to you pales in comparison to what you have done to God. Your sins didnít just violate Jesusí holy body; your sin murdered him. I think much more than this is involved in the gravity of our sin against God but my darkened mind cannot go deeper.

In Jesusí parable about the necessity of forgiving those who have hurt us, (Matthew 18:21-35) he said the degree extent to which we have hurt God is like us owing an impossibly huge debt and in comparison the person we find hard to forgive is as though he owes us a much smaller sum of money. In the parable, the difference is 60,000,000%! Like me, you may be unable to imagine how your sin against God is so many times worse than your abuserís sin against you, but you can still accept it as fact.

The degree to which we forgive others is the degree to which God will forgive us. Jesusí teaching abounds with this concept. Even the Lordís prayer says it. [Relevant Scriptures]

Put bluntly, if you are expecting God to forgive, when you yourself refuse to forgive, you have every right to be plagued with guilt feelings. God will not overlook such hypocrisy.

What you are not required to do

To forgive doesnít involve denying that what this person did to you was despicable and evil. It doesnít mean excusing his actions, or imagining he was in any sense justified in what he did. It doesnít mean he is not deserving of punishment by the law. It means you want God to convict him, not so that you can get revenge, but so that he can obtain Godís forgiveness. It means you want the best for him even though he doesnít deserve it, just like God wants the best for us, even though we donít deserve it. None of us can point the finger at another. We each deserve hell.

When you simply cannot forgive

Given the immense suffering inflicted on you, it is hardly surprising if you struggle with this side of forgiveness. Donít let Satan try to accuse you over any inadequacy you feel in this aspect of forgiveness. Perhaps itís literally beyond your ability to forgive what you have endured. Thatís not a problem. Jesus forgave his haters and abusers as they were gleefully driving nails through his flesh. He can transmit to you in miraculous proportions his supernatural power to forgive.

Our dear Lord never asks the impossible of us. All he asks is our willingness to let him make us willing to forgive. And, despite what we feel, we can ask Godís blessing upon that person. We can bring before God the person we struggle to forgive and through sheer will power ask that the Lord bless that person as much as we would like God to bless us.

Perhaps youíve heard how they catch wild monkeys. A jar is tied down and filled with nuts. The monkey slips in its hand and grabs the nuts, thus making a fist that is too big to come out of the narrow neck of the jar. All the monkey has to do is let go and itís free. But instead it holds on to the nuts, and is caught for the sake of a few nuts. Donít be like that monkey, losing so much by holding on to unforgiveness.

Once we grasp what Jesus has done for us and what he wants to do for us, we need no longer waste our lives finger pointing, despising, and growing bitter. We are freed to get on with life.

Must Read Webpages on this Subject:

Forgiveness is a long journey: Keep reading the links until you find full peace

Lord, make him regret what he did to me! A Healing Experience

Sweet Revenge!

To Forgive is Divine

Who to Blame: Serious, Do-It-Yourself Healing

Have Forgiven But Not Healed? When ďForgivenessĒ Does Not Bring Healing

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 1997, Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.

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Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

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