When I am hurt my human instinct is to avenge myself and how I am feeling. I want to seek justice, my own vengeful justice. I want the person who hurt me to experience some of the same. The bottom line is, hurt people hurt people.
I know that the Word commands me to leave vengeance to God alone. Romans 12:19 states, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay”, says the Lord”. The Bible also instructs us to forgive others as often as necessary. In Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus tells Peter that he must forgive those who sin against him “seventy times seven”. Essentially, Jesus is telling Peter he must infinitely choose to forgive those who sin against him.
You might read that and say to God, “that is not fair, they hurt me and now you expect me to forgive them?”. You are right, that is not fair. But, God is also not fair to us when we are the ones hurting someone else. We would not WANT God to be fair. We instead want God to be gracious.
Let me say it like this, IF God were simply being fair it would have been you and I nailed to the cross at Calvary. By the grace of God Jesus freely took our place and we were given the gift of forgiveness through Christ. As a believer we must set aside our own thoughts of what is fair. We must rid ourselves of vengeance and seek to forgive as often as required.
Forgiving others does not mean forgetting what they have done. We do not need to remain in a situation where someone hurts us repeatedly if they are unrepentant and do not change their actions. Forgiveness is not for the one who has sinned against us, but it is for each of us who have been wronged. When we choose to forgive we are not doing what is fair, but we are doing what is gracious. We are doing what God has done for us, we are offering someone that which they do not deserve.
So, let us not go on being hurt people who hurt people. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus so that we do not grow weary and lose heart (Heb 12:2-3). Let us forgive one another as the Lord has forgiven us (Col 3:13). Let us not do what we think is fair, but rather what is gracious.
“Heavenly Father, by Your grace we receive forgiveness for our sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It was not fair that Christ took our place at Calvary. It is not fair that we must forgive seventy times seven, but how many more times have You forgiven us? Help us to offer grace to others in the same measure we have received Your grace. Heavenly Father heal this nation of hurting people. May the hurting end in Jesus Name! Use us, Lord, to demonstrate Your grace. We ask all these things in Jesus Name. Amen.”
Kami R. Lobner