The rub of forgiveness is that it always runs counter to instinct. But, remember: we are human so we either need forgiveness or we need to forgive.
In the former case, I am reluctant to admit I have done wrong. Confession shakes my confidence; it feels like losing face. If I can muster the courage to ask forgiveness, however, I will soon discover that the temporary humiliation I suffer gives way to the enduring beatitude of humility. The truth sets me free.
In the latter instance, extending forgiveness feels unfair. “They have clearly done wrong. They should get what they have coming to them, for goodness’ sake!” Forgiving feels like letting the offender off the hook. We do not come by such an act naturally. It can only be offered by choice. And it can only be chosen by grace.
We weigh the options in the balance. “If I forgive, then what’s to prevent them from doing the same thing all over again?” That is right. Nothing. Except the captivating power of grace. The soul gripped by forgiveness is, in fact, freed by such a bond.
But it will take trust to relinquish the power of rightness—trust that there is a God who is behind and before, to our left and right, shielding us in his foreign brand of justice we call mercy.