Whenever the topic of extending the forgiveness of sins to those who have sinned against comes up, I can almost immediately see pain and anguish in the eyes of those with whom I am speaking. We love to know that God forgives us of our sins but to offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us in some way, that’s a different story. Many still want to gain some sort of revenge against those who have caused pain on top of forgiving them and so the two thoughts cause a battle in their hearts.
Dr. Robert Wiese of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis shares his thoughts on this very difficult problem in this article.
Dr. Wiese points out that forgiving isn’t always the problem but the actual confrontation of those who have sinned against us is something most of us would like to avoid at all costs. Many of us are afraid of the possible repercussions from our reaching out to offer forgiveness. We don’t like to be refused, ignored, drawn into an argument, or similar situations.
But we aren’t the ones they are fighting with. It’s really the Lord and His commands that cause the problem. Very few of us enjoy having our sins pointed out because that shows our weakness and inability to follow God’s Word. All we are when we offer forgiveness is God’s conduit in providing that amazing gift our Lord gives to all sinners. When forgiveness is rejected, God is rejected and not us.
We don’t see it that way. We see ourselves facing the results of having to point out another person’s sin but it isn’t about us. It’s about God and His grace. We should see the wonderful gift our Heavenly Father wants to bestow on those who repent of their sin and be joyful that we can be the ones to share that good news. God works through us when we offer forgiveness.
So I know it’s tough and we would rather do most anything else instead of speaking to our relative, our friend, our co-worker, our classmate about their sinful actions. But God goes with us to do that which is necessary. When called upon to forgive others, don’t be afraid–the Lord goes with you!