How does a person forgive something that — to them — is unforgivable?
Jesus, while in agony on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
Often in our humanness we wonder, “But what if they do know? What if their actions are calculated and self-serving?” Distrust replaces love and forgiveness and when this happens, it’s time to be honest with God. The best way to do this is by going to His word for direction.
Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent foresees evil and hides himself”. But sometimes forgiveness requires caution because it is different from trust, necessitating the dynamics of a relationship to change. Until an offender has a true change of heart, and because we can’t see that person’s heart, wisdom says to limit our trust in that person.
Trust is a like a four-way intersection where adherence to the wishes, viewpoints, or beliefs of others must intersect with humility and acceptance, even though they may not be the same as yours. Pretense of respect and honor, shrouded in hollow words are as transparent as a full moon on a cloudless night. For honor to shine true, the respect must be real. How do we know if it’s real? We must proceed with caution given to us by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:16, “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance, or even forgetting of transgressions. It requires truth which means letting go of that which has caused hurt, whether forgiveness was requested or not. This becomes a decision of the will – a conscious choice made in the name of Christ – to forget as much as possible and to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean we’re not to forgive. Forgiveness may influence our world, but we must be humble and grateful for God’s love and forgiveness of us as we forgive others while maintaining the recognition that we are not God.
Changing hearts is God’s work.