Who Needs Forgiveness?
Updated: Oct 22, 2019
Family and Parenting Jewels
This may be difficult to believe, but sometimes when my children are supposed to be getting ready for school, they get distracted. One of their favorite distractions lately on these cold fall mornings is the dew on our glass door. They use it to create works of art with their fingers, like a car that says “wash me” only they wipe away water droplets instead of dirt. They know that these are temporary works of art and that their pictures will not be there when they get home from school. But this morning, that fact did not stop my son from being extremely angry at his sister when she started adding to his drawing. He was upset that she did not ask first and that his picture of a giant pig face was ruined! I don’t mean to make light of it because I know that for him this was a big deal, but I was trying to explain to him that his dew picture was not worth getting that upset over.
Nothing I said convinced him to get over it. He stewed over it for the rest of the morning, and as we trudged out to the car, he continued with the sulky attitude.
Meanwhile, his sister was as happy as can be.
This scene made me wonder about forgiveness and who it is for. I would say that it is for both sides, the forgiver and the forgiven. Grudges are bad for everyone. However, many times the person needing forgiveness is not the afflicted. They may not realize they need forgiveness, or if they do, they may not think that what they did was that bad or even be thinking about it much. Withholding forgiveness does not teach the other person a lesson or punish them for what they did, but it does make the “unforgiver” miserable.
When some men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus to be healed, Jesus first told the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2) Some of the teachers of the law were put out by this. Jesus asked them, “Which is easier: to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?” (Matthew 9:5) Well… he never answers that question, but I’m guessing that saying, “Get up and walk” is easier. Think about what Jesus would have to suffer in order to say, “Your sins are forgiven.” By his authority, and by his sacrifice on the cross, we are now able to forgive others just as he forgave us. He gave us the authority to do that. No one finds it easy to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” especially when we are hurting, but God gives those words to us as a gift. How wonderful it is to let go and move on and be free. It turns out the forgiver needs those words just as much as the forgiven.