Extending Forgiveness Requires Being Hurt or Wronged
By Debbie Walker
Recently, I went on a weekly work shopping trip early in the morning with some coworkers. It was one of those days where everything went just not quite right. The truck keys were in the wrong place, someone stopped me to talk, the trailer had not been unhitched from the last driver…and then the traffic! I wasn’t late but I was not early like my coworker wants. So, he was not happy and it showed.
This particular coworker is not a Christian and is very vocal with small comments when he is not happy. So, the next 30 minutes of shopping was filled with not so lovely comments and looks.
Honestly, it hurt my feelings. I tried really hard to not take it personally and to have the attitude that maybe I was just being overly sensitive.
By the time our shopping was done, I was just feeling lousy. I had maintained my composure but I felt pretty beat up verbally. You know that feeing when nothing huge has happened but lots of little things have added up. You’re just aggravated for being treated wrongly when it’s not your fault.
Nothing that morning had been my fault. I had done nothing wrong but still I was being treated poorly and unfairly. I was also hurt because I care about this individual and didn’t want or deserve to be treated the way I had been that morning.
AND then it happened. The most surprising thing ever! As we unloaded the supplies, this coworker unexpectedly said, “Hey, I am really sorry for being such a jerk this morning.” Trying hard not to show the shock of this confession, I replied, “You’re forgiven.” The look in this coworker’s eyes told a deeper story of waiting to be chastised for being a jerk but yet, that is not what he had gotten. He was simply forgiven and he was grateful.
And then it hit me. The reality that without being hurt, I could not have extended this forgiveness. I had to walk through the hurt and pain and unfairness in order to forgive.
Christ had to do that. He had to be beaten and hurt with no blame on his part, in order to take our place for our sins and to forgive us. The look of gratefulness that I received when I simply forgave was worth all of the hurt that I had gone through that morning.
Comparatively, I had not walked through anything very difficult but yet, I got it. That little moment of revelation that comes when God wants to show us something really important in the simplest way that we can understand.
We have to be hurt, often unfairly, in order to forgive but when we extend that undeserved forgiveness, we get a little better sense of what Christ has done for us.
Colossians 3:17 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.