Timeless truths about the price of forgiveness.
In discussing the life of Joseph, forgiveness is key. My friend, Chuck Lynch, has written one of the best books on forgiveness I’ve ever read: I should Forgive, But… Dr. Lynch shares a number of popular reasons why we find it difficult to forgive. In each reason, there is an element of truth, just enough to give the enemy a foothold.
Here’s one I want to share with you from Chuck’s book: I should Forgive, But someone has to pay. Now, that is very true! And in order for the offender to pay, you can’t let him off the hook. So, you keep him locked in prison and take him out every now and then and beat him up. But there is a funny thing about prisoners, they require A LOT of attention. You must feed them and guard them. It requires a lot of emotional effort to keep someone in the prison of your heart. But, someone must pay and since they are the guilty party, they must be kept in prison.
That all sounds very good but the rationale breaks down. Here’s how: You are the one actually in prison! You must guard them. You are on guard 24/7. The person who is guilty may not even know or care that you are keeping them in the prison of your heart. You are paying a higher price than they are paying.
Here’s another truth: Someone has to pay. Sin always, without exception, creates a debt. Always. Someone must pay. The root of the Gospel of Jesus is that HE paid for your sin. Your acceptance of God’s forgiveness does not mean that His Forgiveness is FREE. It wasn’t! Look at the cross!
So, when someone has created a huge debt and you forgive them – you pay! That’s right, you pay because you are releasing the debt they owe you. That means they don’t owe you anything. You release the right to retaliate. (I’m not talking about the legitimate use of the legal system – if someone does something illegal, then you can forgive them and at the same time utilize the laws of the land to protect yourself) But, when you forgive someone, you are going to pay. That’s not fair! Correct. It isn’t fair. Forgiveness isn’t fair. If it were, it wouldn’t be called forgiveness.