“I can’t believe what she said/I can’t believe what he did/oh don’t they know it’s wrong/maybe there’s something I’ve missed/How could they treat me like this/it’s wearing out my heart/the way they disregard/this is love/this is hate/we’ve got a choice to make/oh Father won’t You forgive them/they don’t know what they’ve been doing/oh Father give me grace to forgive them/cause I feel like the one losing.”
If you listen to Christian music much, chances are, you’ve heard this song/prayer by my friends, Tenth Avenue North.
And even if you’ve never heard it, I can pretty much guarantee you can relate to it.
Forgiveness is a great word.
It’s amazing to talk about.
But it’s far harder to actually do.
Wanna know something else about forgiveness?
If you’re doing it right, it feels like losing.
I’d like to tell you I’m this super spiritual person and it’s easy for me to forgive and move on.
But as hard as I try, sometimes the flesh in me comes out and I want revenge.
If you hurt me, I’m gonna try to forgive you.
I really am.
But I find the ugly parts of me in the fact that I want confrontation.
For example : I find out someone is talking about me behind my back.
I forgive them. I try to forget it.
But y’all…. There is honestly nothing I want more than to confront them and ask them why. Sometimes I want to yell at them. Sometimes I want to throw something and start crying.
Those aren’t my finest moments…. but Lord knows I have them.
I want to pknow why. I want an aology. I want to win.
But forgiveness is losing.
Or at least it feels like it.
True forgiveness feels like losing.
Because when we truly forgive, we won’t confront. We won’t yell. We won’t throw things.
We won’t get the answer to the question “why?”
We won’t get to stay mad.
We will have to let it go.
When someone is done wrong, there is pain to be dealt with.
Someone has to take the hurt.
Revenge tries to take that hurt and angle it back at the other. Revenge tries to be bitter. Revenge wants to yell and scream and confront and be mad.
But forgiveness wants to end it all. Forgiveness wants the fighting to be over and the peace to find a way out.
So you know what forgiveness does?
Forgiveness absorbs the pain.
It takes the pain that should be inflicted on someone else just so there can be peace.
It resists the urge to confront the other because it has to be the bigger person.
It refuses to yell because it knows that won’t solve anything.
It takes the pain caused in the situation and chooses to take it on themselves.
All for the sake of peace.
And it feels like losing.
Because… I guess it is.
I mean, we’re taught to strike back.
We’re taught that if someone hurts you, you have every right to hurt them back.
Someone hit you? Fine. Hit them back.
But grace disagrees.
Grace screams for control.
Grace yells for silence and peace.
Grace pushes it’s way out of the pain and begs to be given.
Grace absorbs the pain so others don’t have too.
It honestly does feel like losing.
Because when I’ve been wronged, I want to get them back.
But when I give grace and choose to forgive, I can’t.
I have to take the pain on myself and absorb it all.
I have to not get revenge.
I have to lose.
But you know…. In the backwards kingdom of God, I’m realizing that in the game of forgiveness, losing is really winning.
Holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill them.
It only hurts you.
If you’re holding onto bitterness, let it go.
C.S. Lewis once said that “to be a Christian is to forgive the unthinkable in others because Christ has forgiven the unthinkable in us.”
There are so many touching stories of forgiveness….
But the one that means the most to me is the one where the Savior of the world hung dying on a cross to save the ones who were killing Him.
Knowing He was taking His final breaths, He used His last ounce of strength to cry out to His Father to forgive the very ones killing Him.
That’s grace. That’s mercy.
And everything we do in our lives should mirror that grace.
Forgiveness feels like losing.
But that’s okay… Because in the end, God wins.
He fights for us if we’ll only be still.
Even if it sometimes feels like losing.
Check out some of my favorite stories of the power of forgiveness in people’s lives and the songs that came to be because of them below and come back next week and spend some more time in Caitlin’s Corner.