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Unfair Forgiveness

One time I heard someone, after being accidentally injured and then apologized to, say “Yeah, but your 'sorry' doesn’t make me feel any better.  And they were right.  It is one of the challenges of forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesn’t seem fair.  The onus of healing the wound lies with the wounded.  The one that caused the hurt can only apologize and hope that they will be forgiven, while the wounded has power to bring healing.

It is a paradox of the Christ-like life, the wounded’s power to heal the one who caused the wound. It’s unfair, but it works.

And it’s much better than the alternative: revenge.  Lewis Smedes writes, “Vengeance is a passion to get even.  It is a hot desire to give back as much pain as someone gave you... The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score.  Fairness never comes.  The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course.  It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain.  Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops, never lets anyone off.”

Forgiveness is saying the pain stops here with me.

When we can do that, let the pain stop with us, we are following our Lord, who on the cross looked at humanity and said, Father, forgive them.  It was Jesus’s way of letting the power of sin and death die with Him.

Unfair but powerful—just like forgiveness!

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