Tuesday, August 16, 2011

To Be A Christian Means To Forgive The Inexcusable

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." C.S. Lewis, On Forgiveness in The Weight of Glory

Recently I have been asked to write about forgiving people who are difficult to forgive.  The person I was assigned to discuss was Casey Anthony, who, in all likelihood murdered her two year old daughter. Can I tell you the truth?  I struggle with being able to forgive her.  In my mind, she got away with murder, and not just any murder, but her own, innocent, defenseless child.

I think we refuse to forgive people for one of two reasons:

1.  We think we are better than the person:  This is what this C.S. Lewis quote speaks of.  While I may not be a murderer, I have done plenty of other evil things. All sin separates us from God.  None of us is righteous, not even one.  We all have worth, but none of us is more worthy than the anybody else in the eyes of God. We did not earn our forgiveness, so why should we think that other people have to earn forgiven?  This even applies to people like Casey Anthony.  Yes, she may have committed the inexcusable, but am I so different?

2. We have been deeply hurt: It is hard to forgive when we are deeply hurt.  We want the other person to have to pay for what they did. However, when we act as the judge and executioner, we are playing God. There is only one who can condemn, and it is God.  The beauty is that, in the end, God will exact justice. We just have to trust that in the end, He will defend us.  The ironic thing is that when we are deeply hurt, the longer we hold on to the pain by not forgiving, the slower it will be to heal.

Who do you have a hard time forgiving? 


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Tim. I had been deeply hurt in a divorce many years ago. My grown children were always asking me why I couldn't let go of it and just be friends. It was because of being deeply hurt. Your blog post about forgiveness helps me! God is the only one who can condemn and judge righteously.

  2. I agree. I am still stuggling with someone who hurt me and I considered her to be a close friend. I know God is the ultimate judge on this one. It doesn't erase the hurt, but knowing God understands it all helps. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Not letting go, not forgiving, because we want the other person to pay for what they did is self-destructive in the long run, because in 9.9 cases out of 10, said person isn't even aware that we are harbouring these feelings, and so isn't even affected.
    I do believe, however, in the short term it can be a defense/healing mechanism, for me anyway. Thinking of a situation I've been in, if I'd immediately 'let it go', it would almost have felt like a betrayal to myself, downplaying one of the toughest things I've ever been through. I needed to hold on to it long enough to work through it, validate the effect it had on me and how this had changed me and my life. Once I had done this, I found I could move on, let go more easily. Have I forgiven this person....not sure. But I do know that their name no longer has the hold over my emotions like it did.

  4. You are Blessed and very helpful to so many,may our ABBA ever Keep you close to His heart.