Following up on my last post, I’d like to explore the other side of forgiveness… ASKING TO BE forgiven.
Here’s what I see as the number one problem. There are many times I don’t realize that I am the one that needs to ask someone else to forgive ME!
The reason for that is because we all (I) have tremendous powers of rationalization and justification. I can justify doing just about anything… saying most anything… and giving most any look. And so can you.
Here’s what our rationalizations and justifications sound like: I wake up on the wrong side of the bed… that person deserves it for what they’ve done to me/others… I have a chemical imbalance… I had a hard home life… I’ve been treated unfairly… I don’t believe God.
WAIT! What was that last one? “I don’t believe God?!” Where did THAT come from?
We (I) don’t ask for forgiveness… which leads us (me) to treating people unfairly… when we (I) don’t believe what God tells us (me). Consider that it comes from God telling us that revenge is not ours to carry out. Romans 12:18-21. Being unwilling to ask for forgiveness IS a form of retribution, a form of revenge. It’s a way we hold over other people’s head that we are above them… better than them… that we haven’t “sunk to their level.” I see it in me as a form of false holiness and spiritual maturity. Instead Romans 12:18-21 gives direction for proper conduct in difficult situations.
It is rare that we realize… no, wait… it’s rare that I realize my own faults, mistakes, and offenses without help. It usually takes something dramatic or significant for me to understand how what I say… the looks I can give… or the general trajectory of my life offends others. It’s not something I (we) do on purpose, it happens as we step outside of walking with the spirit. Read Galatians 5:16. Note: If you didn’t click on the link for Galatians 5:16, don’t read further until you do.
So what can we do? How can we get to the place where we recognize when we need to ask someone else to be forgiven? I think Galatians 5:16 is a good place to start! Then I think it would be good to ask God to reveal to us our blind spots… the places we (I) have rationalized or justified our conduct. Then take decided Christian and Biblical action.
The Christian and Biblical action is when our mistakes are revealed to us we go to the person and ask them to forgive us. That means we (I) have to do the right thing regardless of the consequences or how difficult it may seem. We will do that if/when we believe God.
Now the hard part… following the commands of Scripture…….