Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On Forgiveness

As I read the blogs of others and I look back at the leaving of my old church, one subject seems to come up again and again. How is the forgiveness thing going? Have you been able to forgive yet? When you see the people that are shunning you or have spoken badly about you, is there still something there. Do you still want them exposed? Do you want them to pay for their sins?

I know many of us know that we should be “over it” by now. Many of us purpose in our hearts to try to forgive. Many of us have just decided that we will “put on” forgiveness. When we meet up with the offenders we will just treat them as if it is forgiven but deep in our hearts we know we are failing miserably at the whole forgiveness thing.

Well, I’m in the same boat as you. I had just decided that I would treat them as they had not hurt me. I would be kind….nice even. But forgiveness from the heart…..couldn’t do that.
That is until I started re-adjusting how I saw our Father. See, my view of Him was that He was just like me. I was taught, and had taught, that he forgave me of my sins. But somehow that had morphed into the fact that essentially He had just decided to treat me in a way that did not reflect how my sins (I) deserved to be treated. Somehow he still hung onto my sins and yet treated me with grace and mercy.

When reading the God’s Honest Truth, by Darrin Hufford these past few weeks I have a whole new picture of my sins and what Jesus did. He did not just forgive me of my offences. He BECAME my sin. He took it all on himself and then paid the price for it. It was no longer my sin but His. It is gone. Paid for. Obliterated.

And it was odd. I did not set out to be more forgiving as I read this book but the more and more I see of God’s true character and gaze on what is really his face and not just an extension of myself, something radical is happening within me. I am being changed.

I am being changed. I actually cringe at typing that sentence because I have been changed before only to fall back into my own ways. It usually never stays. It never lasts. But this time it is different. I am not trying to change. I am not trying to be more forgiving. I just see it popping out of me and it is strange to me to even see it. It is like, “Whoa,……where did that come from!”

I am convinced today that the more in focus we see our wonderful Father….the more we see Him without the lens of ourselves making the picture fuzzy…. the more we will become like Him.

Being conformed to His image is only as good as the image we have of Him. It has nothing to do with the “shoulds” of life and everything to do with just knowing Him and having a clear picture of Him.


Tracy Simmons said...

"Being conformed to His image is only as good as the image we have of Him."

Barb, that is one of the most powerful sentences I have read in months. So true. Man, it just takes my breath away. Thanks.

Sarah said...

This post is spot on. I have been learning that same lesson these past few years. Trying to become more loving has gotten me nowhere. But looking at Him, and seeing Him transforms me into a loving being like He is. Simple, really. And such a relief! Oh, and I really like that insight - that He BECAME our sin, it is gone. And then there's also the transaction aspect. He became our sin for us and then imparted His pure nature in exchange. A whole new creation. Wow! Amazing isn't it? I love the cross, I love the gospel!

Set Free said...

Barb, Thank you for this post. It really helped me. I too have been studying on God's unconditional love and I think that because of the way certain leaders had treated us, we had a distorted view of who God really is to us. I am learning who He really is all over again. I am going to put a link to this on my blog.

Wayward Son said...

Barb, great post.

I was reminded of something I read recently in Tim Keller's "The Reason for God." In talking about forgiveness in general, and why Jesus had to die for our sins instead of the Father "just forgiving us"...it turns out when one person wrongs another, it incurs loss at some level--it literally is a debt. He says, "Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it, so you can reach out in love to seek your enemy's renewal and change. Forgiveness means absorbing the debt of the sin yourself. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears."

This was a profound idea to me, that forgiveness actually involves willfully absorbing the loss incurred instead of holding the other accountable. That's why it hurts, and why it feels like suffering when we have to do it. That's what Jesus did for us, and that's what we do when we forgive others. Powerful.

Barb said...

Tracy, I have been totally blown away by the distorted image I had of our Father and How that effected me daily. This is revolutionary.

Sarah, The whole idea of Him BECOMING our sin has been a totally new concept. How could he hold our sin against us. He would have to hold it against himself!!

Set Free, I'm convinced that our salvation comes in understanding this Love. Thanks for the link!!


Darin reminds us that Jesus was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world. He had already died to himself and his expectations as well has dying for the penalty of sin. No wonder the verse talks about he who would save his life will lose it. By dying we are able to live.