It can feel like another blow, the demand to forgive. Like I’ve been wounded and now I’m supposed to say it’s okay. It’s okay that you did this because I forgive you.
But it’s not like that.
When Jesus came helpless and skin-exposed, he never said any of our sin was okay.
He said He loved us yet. He said He’d take care of the sin, He’d take the bloody consequences of it.
Forgiveness doesn’t make wrong okay.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
Forgiveness leaves the wrong there, all pulsing and ugly, and it says Still, I love you.
Forgiveness wears the wrong like an ugly gash. It takes the bloody consequences and looks to God.
Just like Jesus did.
And God sees.
God knows whose wrong it is. He doesn’t get mixed up or confused and He certainly doesn’t dismiss it as okay.
It will never be okay that Jesus suffered, or that we do.
But when we do it, when we wear the wrong of another and look to God while we bleed, He opens Heaven for us. He helps us bleed it out till it’s gone.
Just like He did for Jesus.
And if it feels like he’s abandoned you too, if it feels like this will kill you – let it. Remember what came next: life swooshed in all sparkling new and utterly invincible.
Maybe that’s the proof of forgiveness – the life of Jesus whooshing in.
We can’t do it apart from Him. It’s not even possible. Our nature, wired into our bones, is to retaliate somehow, to lash out or withdraw; or give in to despair, decide we deserve it.
Apart from Jesus we can not forgive.
But we aren’t apart from Jesus.
He came helpless, with skin exposed, and wore our wrong like nails right through him.
He bled it all out till it was gone and so we are forgiven.
So we can forgive.