As we close this week of thinking about the cost of unforgiveness, let’s recall where we’ve been so far:
· Monday – forgive because it’s commanded (or you also remain unforgiven)
· Tuesday – forgive by clearing away the dead stuff which kills the new life Christ wants to birth in you
· Wednesday – forgive by choosing to see the offender in your life as a broken part of Christ’s family
· Thursday – forgive by strapping on the parachute of humility in self-examination
I’ve tried to save “the best” for last in this series. But the best, in this case, is also the hardest (for me). We are to forgive by following the example of Jesus. One of the seven sayings from the cross has a bloody, beaten Jesus saying, Father, forgive them…. Fast-forward a bit and we see Stephen, a leader in the early church, being stoned by a frenzied, religious mob for his faith in Christ. His last words were emulating Jesus’ forgiveness from the cross…Father, don’t add this sin to their account.
By now we have all figured-out that forgiveness is hard work; it’s God-work. But the cost of unforgiveness is a much greater cost. This is exactly why Jesus went to the cross for us; the cost of a cross-less world would have been the judgment of sin on our account. All of us would have remained unforgiven!
And so…a note to end on for this weekend:
Forgive by remembering Christ’s way is to forgive – and know that genuine forgiveness will always be costly. Always!
King David understood this. When he was going to build an altar to worship God, one of his constituents offered him a piece of land – at no charge. David’s reply?
I will not present burnt offerings to the LORD my God that have cost me nothing.
2 Samuel 24:24b (NLT)
There is something worth it all about following this Godly example of forgiving someone else’s cost. I’ve never been put in jail unjustly (or even justly). I’ve not been put in the hospital because someone beat me up. I’ve not been so badly treated that you would write a book or TV mini-series about my life. But I have had occasion to forgive others – more than a few occasions.
It is hard work, God-work, to let it go, not bring it up, and say goodbye to revenge. But that’s what God does for us every day as He forgives us!
The cross says so!