When Forgiveness Hurts

Have you ever wept or cried out because you did not get your revenge? What was it like? Have you ever felt disgruntled about a case or judge because you weren’t avenged satisfactorily? How did it feel like? To tell you, you felt that way because deeply rooted in our hearts is the desire for revenge. In this note, I want to look at when forgiving someone – who has wronged you – hurts.

We revenge because it’s the law of action and reaction, it’s the law of cause and effect, it’s the law of karma, it’s even the law in Matthew 7:12- “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”. We retaliate every action against us because somehow we feel it’s the right thing to do but Christ teaches us love (cp. Luke 9:55-56).

Have we asked ourselves, “Why does it hurt when we are forgiving someone?” We feel it hurts not necessarily because we do not have the love of Christ in our hearts, but because we feel our emotions haven’t been appeased. It’s how God is and we’ve inherited it, but Christ shows us something different about God.

In Genesis 45:1-2, Joseph couldn’t control weeping within himself and cried loudly because he wished to have revenged against his brothers in the same vein. We see this in how he plotted the silver cup in his younger brother Benjamin’s sack, wishing to cause trouble to his brothers (Genesis 44).

However, he understood God’s vision, the dream which God gave him from the beginning and which started his saga as the star of the family. When he realized this, he fully forgave his brothers and helped them even but he had to weep bitterly at first. Even his brothers could not forgive themselves because they thought he was only doing them favour because of their father; they thought he was harbouring unforgiveness in his heart.

So we realize now why forgiveness hurts, but forgiving shouldn’t be a difficult thing. It should be something that comes out of us easily, especially if we love God (cp. 1 John 4:20-21). If we love God, then we cannot hide vengeance in our hearts against the brethren. We should be loving and forgiving as Christ was, who even, when he was being crucified, still forgave his debtors. Sounds easy, isn’t it? Of course it should be easy.

As Christians, forgiving someone shouldn’t be something that hurts. It’s our obligation to forgive everyone that hurts us and when we do, we should do it in love (rf. John 13:35). If we can’t, that’s because we’re doing it on our own; we should give it all up to God and let Christ help us. God bless you.

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