Withholding Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking lately about how we often need to force a change of perspective when thinking about forgiveness. Our thoughts on forgiveness often revolve around how we need to begrudgingly find a way to forgive someone who has wronged us, or who we at least perceived has wronged us. It is difficult for us bring ourselves to forgive people at times. I think we fail to see the impact of forgiveness, and the equally powerful impact of withholding forgiveness.

I remember a situation a ways back where I had to apologize to someone. It was difficult to do as I there were intricacies in the situation that resulted in the full fault not truly falling squarely on me, but I understood it was important that I apologizing to this person in that moment. it was even harder entering into this apology speech as it was not the first one I had had to have with them. When you go to humbly and genuinely apologize you hope for a restorative outcome. It never came in this story.

My apology resulted in repeated accusation. The person I was apologizing to had no interest in accepting my apology. They had no interest in giving me forgiveness. They only cared about continuing to proclaim judgment on me over the very thing I was apologizing about. It was through that conversation that I realized that past situation where forgiveness was given were really jus ta smoke screen. it was a fake kind of forgiveness. It was painful. It’s still painful.

Being refused forgiveness is difficult to swallow. It actually took me a long time to realize what bothered me from that conversation. It dawned on me as I begin to wrestle with this topic of forgiveness. It bothered me because someone tried to place themselves up as my god. That may sound harsh, but it is truth. When someone has been apologized to, but they withhold forgiveness and determine judgment then they are saying that their decision is more important than God’s.

God willingly forgives us. We can come to him truly repentant of our sins, and He will forgive us ever time. This realization became even more painful than the destructive nature of being refused forgiveness from someone. It hurt because I realize now what I do when I wrestle with wanting to withhold forgiveness form someone else. I try and set myself up as their god. I put myself as their accuser and judge.

There re lots of intricacies to forgiveness. I’m not saying we don’t point out sin. That is crucial in the community of believers. We need sin to be confronted, but I believe we need to be ready to forgive when people come asking for it. We cannot truly forgive someone until they ask for forgiveness, but we can be ready to give them that forgiveness when they ask for it. I think of those who have hurt me at various points in my past, and not yet asked for forgiveness. I hope they do ask one day. I want them to be healed form that forgiveness, and more importantly I want to show them that I don’t place myself as their god. I don’t want to withhold forgiveness because I hated it when forgiveness was withheld from me. I wonder how different things would be if we looked at this angle of forgiveness more often.

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