May 082014 3 Responses

Three Reasons You Can’t Forgive

Forgiveness is rarely easy. The harm which other people cause us can be devastating.

Yet a lack of forgiveness can be even more devastating.

Whether the issue is so grand it is nearly beyond forgiveness or if the issue is so difficult because of the cumulative nature of hurt, we all struggle to forgive.

While every situation is different, there are three basic reasons why you struggle to forgive:

1. You have lost a proper view of what Christ has done (for you and for others). Forgiveness is only possible because we know what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. On the Cross, Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. Nothing is greater than His love. No one is beyond God’s forgiveness. When we realize that God has forgiven us of every sin we have ever or will ever commit, it will give us a radically different perspective when others offend us.

An unwillingness to forgive others reveals our ignorance toward the power of the Cross. To the extent that we understand the forgiveness which God has given to us, we will freely forgive others.

2. You have lost a proper view of who the other person is. People are good and bad. They are both. No one is perfect and no one is totally evil. People are created in the image of God so they are good. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” so they are bad. Forgiveness becomes difficult whenever we only see the evil in others and fail to remember they were created in God’s image.

When we fail to forgive others, we often view them as a caricature of who they actually are. We see only their offense. We do not see the value they have in God’s eyes. (See: What Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean) FORGIVENESS

3. You have lost a proper view of who you are. While we struggle to forgive others, we often do not struggle to admit our need for forgiveness. How can we seek forgiveness but deny it to others? The only answer is that we see what we have done as being less offensive than what has happened to us. While it is possible we have never done anything like what has been done against us, we all stand in need of forgiveness. Everyone fails and everyone needs to receive forgiveness. To the extent that we realize our need for forgiveness, we will be willing to offer it to others. The moment we see our offenses as minor and the offenses of others as major, we will struggle to forgive. Consider what you have done wrong. If you are not overwhelmed by the kindness of others regarding your faults, then you are not viewing your failures properly. (See: How Do I Forgive Myself?)

Other factors might make forgiveness difficulty. Mental illness, not enough time having passed to get through the initial shock of an offense, or other issues might be at play, but generally speaking a lack of forgiveness comes down to one of these issues.

Most of the time when one of these issues is present, all three are present. When we fail to understand what God has done on the Cross, we stop viewing others properly because we fail to understand our own need forgiveness. Experience God’s forgiveness of your sin and you will not struggle to forgive the sins of others.

For more, see:

Be He Said “I’m Sorry”

What to do Right When You’ve Already Done Wrong

3 Responses to Three Reasons You Can’t Forgive
  1. […] But that’s not all it is. (See: Three Reasons You Can’t Forgive) […]...
  2. […] Forgiveness is easier when we realize our mistakes, but when we live in denial of our imperfections ...

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