We all know that we MUST forgive those that have hurt us.
The Lord requires that we forgive our enemies; that we forgive the people that have injured us (Matthew 6:14; Colossians 3:13). We must forgive as we are forgiven. That is what we, Christians, believe; that is what we, Christians, pray (Luke 11:4). If we know Christ and have experienced His forgiveness – we can and we must forgive those that have hurt us. We can forgive anybody and everybody that has hurt us because of what Christ did on the cross. For the cross is the promise of God that every wrong will be made right; either through the shed blood of His Son Jesus on the cross or through an eternity of anguish in hell. If we know Christ and have the power of His indwelling presence we can forgive those that have hurt us, no matter what they have done to us, because Christ gives us the ability to do so. This is because forgiveness is an act of grace accomplished by the powerful working of the Spirit of God in our souls. In one sense, it is the most natural thing in the world for a Christian to forgive, for the very One who forgave us is the Holy One who indwells us and empowers us to forgive others.
God is perfectly wise, perfectly good, perfectly just and absolutely sovereign. God is even sovereign over the sins that are committed against us and all that results from those sins. This truth is what enabled Joseph to say to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20a). It is a comforting truth that when evil is intended against us – God intends it for our good. And, it helps us to forgive when we can see that God has sovereign power over all the painful providences of our lives and that He ordains them to the end that He may do us good.
But, what good can come to us from the evil actions of others?
Well, there are many good things that can result from the sins that are committed against us. Although, here I only want to focus on one of those ‘good things’ – the good thing of receiving more of God’s grace. God uses evils committed against us to cause us to seek and receive His grace. Just as the great enemy of our souls intends that all the evil committed against us will cause us to turn away from God in disbelief, God intends the evils committed against us to cause us to recognize our great need for God and His amazing grace. In this way, evils committed against us become a means of grace to us. That is, evil becomes the servant that carries us to God and bids us ask Him that the manifold expressions of His grace would be given to us – His comforting grace, His healing grace, His ‘forgiveness empowering grace.’
Since God’s great purpose in the creation of the universe is to magnify the glory of His grace in the ages to come through us, every opportunity to experience God’s grace is an opportunity to glorify God (Ephesians 1:4-7, 2: 5-7). We magnify His grace more fully by drinking of it more deeply. In this way, anything that causes us to realize our need of God’s grace is a very good thing. When we can begin to see the sins that others have committed against us as an opportunity of experiencing more of God’s grace, we are all-the-more empowered to forgive the evil-doers of those sins. This is so, if for no other reason than those same sins become for us a means of receiving God’s grace. So, let’s forgive those that have hurt us, let’s drink deeply of the grace that is ours in Christ our Lord, and let’s magnify the glory of the grace of our great God.