“But why should I forgive them after what they did to me? Again.”
The Christian seeks to forgive without limit because that is what their master Jesus did. And does.
To withhold forgiveness is to judge—and to judge another is to judge oneself for all human judges have failed to follow God’s perfect way perfectly. And we continue to fail.
How can I judge another when I myself fail others through injury or indifference? If I would ask the Master to forgive me without limit, I should also practice forgiving others without limit.
This is the hardest thing to do.
Call to mind that person yesterday. They greeted you with a mere emotional yawn. You can hold a grudge and return their rejection, mark for mark. Or you can exchange rejection for unconditional acceptance. Suddenly, you are free. And so are they. The Good King reigns, truly. And the Fruitful Country becomes present here and now—there is no waiting for joy anymore.
When Jesus came announcing the immanence of the Kingdom of God he came announcing forgiveness at the same time. This is no coincidence. Where forgiveness is withheld the life of God is rejected. Where forgiveness is practiced the life of God pulsates, granting life to those whom such forgiveness flows from and to. Forgiveness is the heart of the Christian body.
What a radical departure from the world system of walls and retaliation! As soon as I read the words “forgive without limit” a flood of caveats invade my heart. “Yes, but…” I begin to think. “And we should keep in mind that if…”
“If…then” is a perfectly acceptable line of reasoning if the condition is no condition--for that is the kind of “if” God extends to us. “If you have rejected me, I have accepted you,” he says.
Let us do the same and we will see the end of this toxic strife.