Spiritual theory or cruel command?

By Dave Henning / February 22, 2021

“I know what it feels like to have been hurt so deeply that forgiveness feels like a command too cruel for you to consider.  Or, it’s a spiritual theory you might think about one day after a lot more time has passed.  Or, it’s a topic you’ve been avoiding and don’t care to discuss.”- Lysa TerKeurst

In Chapter 2 (“Welcome to the Table”) of Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, Lysa TerKeurst observes that life continues to place opportunities to forgive in front of us all.  And during various seasons in your life, you may react in many different ways to the word forgiveness.  You may react with: guardedness, defeat, anger, hurt, fearfulness, frustration, or confusion.

Therefore, Lysa notes, as you wrestle with forgiveness, you don’t want someone who finds it impossible to understand your deep heartbreak to boss you around.  As if forgiveness should be easier.  Nor do you need anyone to shame you for expressing hesitance.  Worse yet, you don’t need you brain battered by teaching you’re not yet ready to hear.

Furthermore,  in Lysa’s research of forgiveness she discovered many legitimate feelings that feed our resistance.  These feelings include:

  • Hanging on to a grudge provides me a sense of control over a situation that’s felt so unfair.
  • Forgiveness feels like it trivializes, minimizes, or worse yet, makes what happened no big deal.
  • My offender has never apologized or even acknowledge that what he/she did was wrong.
  • Forgiveness won’t help anything, because they can’t change what they did.
  • The person who hurt me is no longer here.  I can’t forgive someone I can’t talk to.
  • There’s no way any good will come from forgiveness now.

Finally, Lysa concludes with these hopeful words:

“After more than one thousand hours of studying this topic in the Bible, I can’t say all my questions have been answered.  Nor can I promise this is easy.  But I can tell you, the Bible offers the truth about forgiveness that our souls desperately need.  and, best of all, God modeled how to do this even when it feels so very impossible.”

Today’s question: Have you ever viewed forgiveness as a spiritual theory or cruel command?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A misery too great to bear?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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